Pirates Fans Get What They Pay For


Jul 12, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer (10) gets a cream pie in the face from pitcher A.J. Burnett (left) after Mercer drove in the game winning run against the New York Mets during the eleventh inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 3-2 in eleven innings. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates are inching out of the basement of ticket pricing in Major League Baseball.  The team said today that season ticket pricing will increase in 2014.  And finally, after waiting for some reason or another, big games will cost fans more money.

I am standing and applauding right now.

You know our feeling on this topic.  The Bucs have to increase their pricing.  It’s a fact.

The MLB average price for tickets pales in comparision with what the Pirates charge.

As most everyone knows, the Pittsburgh Pirates raised ticket prices to start the season this year and next year a six percent increase, on average will take effect.

Heading into 2013, Major League Baseball season ticket holders were able to enjoy America’s pastime for about the same amount of dollars spent last year. Some of the teams that joined the Pirates in raising prices were some of the better teams, and of course the best team from 2012.

The Giants, Nationals, Tigers, Rangers, and Angels made increases of over ten percent.

The Mariners (with power hitter Michael Morse-a player we wanted desperately in the ‘Burgh), Diamondbacks and Buccos made bumps of seven to ten percent. Some teams actually dropped prices on tickets in not-s0-attractive seats.

Here is some of what we wrote at the beginning of the season when the increase took effect:

It’s downright sinful to look at the Pirates pricing structure. They made an increase but are still absurdly below ML average. Some argue, they should be, but that’s an argument for another day.

Here is the link to The Fan Cost Experience

The Pirates average ticket cost is $17.21.

The ML average is $27.48.

The Pirates average premium ticket is $57.30.

The ML average is $90.48.

The report looks at beer, soda, hot dogs, parking, etc and develops an FCI.

The Pirates FCI is $164.84.

The ML average is $208.81.

The Pirates are ridiculed for not having a Major League organization, for not having the niceties that players on other teams have. The Pirates are chided for not having a Major League product on the field. It’s hard not to defend the Bucs when their prices are well below the MAJOR LEAGUE AVERAGE. The average!

It’s a difficult paradox. For years, the Bucs didn’t raise prices. The organization equated winning with the price for coming to the ballpark. It’s unfortunate that they can’t point to anyone but themselves when discussions are made about having enough resources.

Kudos to Frank Coonelly and the decision makers in the Bucs sales and marketing office for having the balls to make the decision that needed to be made.


We wrote about ticket prices before… (a lot)


You might be pissed about the increase, but somebody has to pay for the busted screen behind Mr. Coonelly in this video. Might as well be you.

A few weeks after Mr. Frank Coonelly wouldn’t commit to the Pittsburgh Pirates raising ticket prices, it’s now official. We guess the timing was simply better today. So Pittsburgh Pirates ticket prices will rise in 2011. Buccos brass, finally. Congratulations. We never like to look in the past, but screw it. We think it’s a year too late.

But Mr. Coonelly did make some nice points, using the economy card, and saying it was a group decision to not raise prices this season. But we think our argument was better. Nevertheless, it’s done. The Pirates are moving into the Y2K with their pricing structure.

If you’ve read our take from eight months ago, please forgive us. We think it would have made even more sense now. The Orioles are a step up with a shit product, the Bucs are mired in the sins of the past with their outdated pricing structure. We doubt the O’s increase anything next year, but let’s say the Bucs had made a serious increase this year, not just the small move they did make, what could they have done next year?

Yeh, another bump. The Pirates are playing a seemingly endless game of catch up in a race against big markets. The Bucs likely will never catch the lead dogs in pricing. But they could have with a bit of agressiveness closed the 43 percent gap between their average ticket price of just over 15 bucks and the MLB average price, however marginally.


Courageous Orioles Get It Right, Cowardly Pirates Don’t

The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of the best values in sports.

The Baltimore Orioles claim their raise in ticket prices this offseason are the first since 2006. The season ticket holder from section 386, or is it 86, claims differently.

The Orioles will also have higher game prices for the higher demand games such as Opening Day against Jim Leyland’s Tigers, the Yankees and the Red Sox. The O’s also will charge more to those who buy tickets at the walk-up window.

The Orioles season ticket prices did not go up for 2011. The O’s increase in 2006 did not affect all of the tickets sold. The price increase by the O’s this year is reported to be the first, full seat hike for advance tickets since after the 2003 season. The increase after 2006 affected some but not all of the tickets sold.

Baltimore has plenty to say about the O’s ticket price increase

Ok, ok, that’s a whole lot of information about a team you don’t give a shit about. Here is the point of interest. The Orioles raised prices this season after they lost 96 games in 2010. It was their 13th consecutive losing season. The Orioles had their lowest attendance EVER at Camden Yards in 2010.

This offseason they signed some very familar names in free agency.

Of course there will be negativity around the decision to raise prices. Some will put together some stupid correlation between the product on the field and the price of the product. Ha. Ha. Yeh, those Orioles are so stupid. Same old shit, right?

Not quite.

You’re pissed off the Bucs didn’t get J.J. Hardy I bet. Who got him?

You might be pissed about Derrek Lee. Who got him?

A small group of people were pissed when Adam Reynolds didn’t come to Pittsburgh? Who got him?

Before you laugh at the Orioles decision to raise prices on average $3 bucks, think about it for a little bit. They turned their season around last year after Buck took over, but they still managed to lose a huge number of games. What if they waited until they had a winning season? That would be stupid right? What message does it send when the team loses at such a prolific pace and prices are raised? I am not sure. If you look at the comments in the Baltimore Sun people are pissed off. I understand.

But despite all that, the Orioles are a very good ticket value. Kudos to them for having the foresight to see the need for an increase and the courage to implement it.

In Pittsburgh the old dinosaur sports writers would have a grand old time on their typewriters pecking away at how hideous of a decision it would be for the Bucs to raise prices.

When the Orioles bump prices a buck or two again next season after having a solid 2011 don’t be surprised. When they sign some more familar name acquisitions in the offseason don’t be surprised.

When the Pirates don’t do either you better not be surprised.

We wrote about this at the beginning of the month. The Pittsburgh Pirates AAA affiliate, the Indianapolis Indians’ increased their attendance while increasing ticket prices.

I can forsee the same thing happening with the O’s. In Indianapolis 20,000 more fans went through the turnstiles at Victory Field. The Indians attendance was 569,969 in 2010. The $1-per-ticket increase helped increase ticket revenue to $4.11 million.

Simply the thought that the Pittsburgh Pirates won’t bump their ticket prices, blows my mind. But that’s just me. The trouble is if they don’t give tickets a bump now, when would the Pirates increase those prices? Why not increase them now and add a value like having the gates open in time for fans to see batting practice? Create a loyalty program. Have an area of concessions open early to accomodate those that are ready to spend cash. The O’s announced they won’t do that.

Die hard baseball fans love BP. You want loyal fans, let them in the park to see their favorite Pirates.

We get it, certainly a price increase, no matter how small will be another PR pitfall for the Bucs. The ticky tack ticket fees already piss people off, but you hear very little about those fees.

But in the end, don’t the Pirates have an excellent PR department who should excel at this type of shit? The Bucs should put a plan together and increase their revenues to a number that would be relevant for Pirates fans. Who fucking cares what the non-ticket buying public thinks? This agreement could be the ‘Partnership With Pirates Fans’ if you will, lay out what the goal of the price increase is and why it matters to Pirates fans.

The Pirates owe it to the young core of talent that is building at PNC Park. Do it now, before it’s too late.

This team is damned no matter what they do by the poor guys who are stuck at the top of PNC Park. If the Pirates allow the media and the non-Pirates loving public to stunt their growth it’s a damn shame. The improvement of the park is delayed. Clubhouse upgrades are ignored. And most importantly having the cash necessary to sign an impact player when the team is ready to contend is compromised.

Waiting to increase prices until this team gets back to winning ways is even more foolish. Millions of dollars in ticket revenue are gone because the Pirates haven’t raised prices since 2002, the longest such stretch in Major League Baseball. And seriously, nothing in America stays priced the same for as long as Pirates tickets have.

Milk? Gas? Tobacco? Beer? Indianapolis Indians tickets? All of those items have increased in price. But oh hell no, not Pirates tickets, those never change. Apparently the mentality is we suck—we can’t possibly raise prices a dollar or two. Don’t you know the media would crucify us? Screw the media. Is this about winning or is it about making sure people like the Bucs?

Whatever sport business guru began associating winning ball games with ticket pricing should be water boarded. The non growth of Pirates revenues is as tragic as the losing. Since when did Bob Nutting care about what people think of him? The Pirates number one goal should be to win baseball games. To do that, a serious amount of cash is needed each and every year. How about this idea? Sign Andrew McCutchen and announce a ten percent increase on the same day? It would be classic Pittsburgh Pirates. The KC Royals announced a 15 percent increase in 2008. Last month, they traded away an ace. Explain that shit?

Here is the bottom line. We know the argument will be this: nothing in America has been as bad as the Pirates have been. Yeh, we get it. Still, I would have done it. Years ago. But we want the best possible team in uniform at PNC Park.

Being in a small market is one thing. Being foolish and being in a small market is entirely different.

Follow us on Twitter because we haven’t raised that price, it’s still free.

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