Tough Ticket

As someone who went through his formative season ticket buying years (defined as: the time period shortly after college when I had an income and little responsibility) in the late 90’s and early 00’s, getting Tigers season tickets was a breeze. Where do you want to sit? No problem. What package do you want? No problem. The programs were great with liberal ticket exchange policies and other bonuses. Entering into the 2008 season things have certainly changed.

Here we are on the day of Tigerfest, and today is the first day that the Tigers have promoted 27 game packages. The team had to wait on the mini-packages because ever since the Willis-Cabrera trade there has been so much demand for full season packages. The official word from the Tigers is that as of Wednesday they had sold 3,300 new full season equivalent (FSE) season ticket plans. And with the team just recently starting to sell the smaller packages, the bulk are probably actual full season packages.

When I called the week of that trade to put down a deposit on a 27 game package, I encountered hold times of 10-15 minutes because of increased demand. I did manage to secure a pair of seats for the 2008 season, but the package doesn’t include a seat for Opening Day. With the additional full season purchases, combined with a high renewal rate of the 19,500 FSE from last year, there just aren’t the physical seats available to offer to those buying season tickets for the first time. The team is offering up a Yankees or Red Sox game as an alternate, which is really about the best they can do. Still, I’ve been to every Opening Day for a decade and it was a prime reason for the decision to go for a plan so I can’t help but be disappointed.

The Tigers are encountering all kinds of challenges, but these are the kinds of problems you want. Much like Jim Leyland trying to figure out the best way to get 3 or 4 number 3 hitters fit into a lineup, the Tigers are challenged with cramming as many people into a park that now seems a little too small. Which is unfathomable for anyone who spent a September night with their own section back in 2003. The Tigers are at a point now where they have to:

  • Balance the desire to sell more full season ticket packages while offering the customer friendly small packages
  • Figure out how to allocate premium tickets like Opening Day and post-season to the tens of thousands of fans who have made a significant financial commitment to the team
  • Continue to reward those loyal fans with smaller, less expensive packages, but that have had them for many years.
  • Consider cutting off season ticket sales to allow for individual and group ticket sales

Again, all good problems to have but challenges nonetheless.

So if you’re on the fence about getting a package, you might not want to wait to long. Already, some packages are sold out for some areas and that was prior to the team even promoting them on the website.

As for my Opening Day dilemma. I decided not to wait around and went the StubHub route. I got a pair in the right field grand stand for $130 a piece. Clearly more than I wanted to spend, but that’s the going rate right now and I don’t see it getting any cheaper. But with over 300 listings at least there is a decent selection.

16 thoughts on “Tough Ticket”

  1. I managed to snag 27 games in section 330, but had to buy additional seats for OD also ($134 each) in the bleachers.
    Still, as much as it was kitsch in ’03 with an empty ballpark and seats everywhere for the taking, a full Copa and a winning team is 1000% better, even if our seats aren’t as good.
    See you at the ballpark, Bilfer!

  2. I received my 27-game package renewal last week and it contained a page saying that they no longer guarantee post season tickets for some package and for no 27 game package that first signed up this year.

    They will instead have a online drawing for tickets for those in that situation. And for those who go in on the parking, that is also a tough situation.

  3. Being a fan for numerous years and through the bad years where no one showed up, it was really easy to get opening day tickets and others. Now with the team playing so well, its almost impossible to get tickets for opening day and other good games. While its good for the team and for atmosphere, I still feel a little resentment that the people who have supported the team for years get the shaft compared to people who have “bandwagoned” and now jump in and get the tickets. I might be the only one who feels this way, but it can be frustrating when the cheapest seat for opening day is 120 a ticket and its not even a great seat. I know there isn’t a way to reward committed fans, but the real fans deserve to be there, not fair weather ones who are just riding the wave.

  4. Hey, at least you guys get to go sometimes! As a lifelong Canadian Tiger fan, I went to see them at the Dome when I was younger, save one trip to Tiger Stadium and one to Comerica. Now that I’m on the West Coast, its 2-3 games at Safeco a year.

    At least last year I saw them win for the first time ever, after about 20 games in person (the game Sheffield stole home). Can’t wait to go down again this year…

  5. I guess I got lucky reaching the ticket line today, I got through with no wait and renewed my season tickets (26 Saturday Plan + OD package) in no time flat. WHEW!

  6. Definitely a good problem to have. I hope to make it to Comerica some day. For now I’ll have to settle for road games in the Bronx:(

  7. I saw the same thing. I think I’ll go with the 27 game package, but you can see that some areas of park aren’t even available. I have decided to pass on opening day. I just cannot get past last April when it was 40 degrees out and windy. I’m not paying $130 for that experience. I’ll just enjoy it on my couch.

  8. We went out and got 5 seats for 81 games at first base (with parking) and plan to sell quite a bit.

    We got 81 b/c we think there will be a demand, like to pick and choose our games and also from what I know – the 81 game plan is the only one with playoff priority/opening day.

    We also went to the Tigerfest today – my 2nd time (missed last year – 2007- but went before 2006 – last year at Joe Louis).

    I personally got Nate Robertson, Bobby Seay, Edgar Rentaria, Jaque Jones, Jeff Jones, Placido Polanco and Justin Verlander. I also got a stiff back from standing/walking for about 6 hours straight.

    We just missed (kinda on purpose) Bonderman and Rapada and got Nate and Seay instead.

    We also sadly just missed Granderson signing- who was treated like a G-d along with Verlander.

    And as we were leaving we saw Curtis signing for a few extra outside (what a guy) and he left just as we ran up but waved to use in his car.

    I would have to say that the nicest guy there whom I got an autograph from was Robertson.

    Oh and btw Guillen was there (didn’t expect him).

    I asked Jacque Jones which team he liked more (Twins or Cubs) and he gave the Twins as a swift response.

  9. Lol you’re welcome

    also this time they were much busier than last

    hour and a half minute wait for 2 signatures – until the end when I got Polys – he looked dead tired

  10. My son and I were at Tigerfest also today. We were able to get autographs from Jim Leyland (my son had him sign a pack of smokes) Gene Lamont, Rafael Belliard, Vance Wilson (very nice guy) Milt Wilcox and Nate Robertson. One of the lines moved very slow (little over 2 hours). We also toured the home clubhouse and the visitors dugout. They had a “press conference” with some of the players and we saw Maggs who was absolutely hilarious! He received a standing ovation when he was finished. We stayed for some of Dontrelle Willis but then left to find some food. All in all it was a great day.

  11. Don’t feel bad guys. I work in two NL towns now (Philly and DC), so I only get to see em once every three years, unless I want to go to BAL, which BTW, is a Sh**hole with a ballpark in the middle of it. I grew up in Hamtown and lemme tell ya, downtown Baltimore gives me the willies. Place is scaaaaary.

  12. I like to think I lucked out this year with my season tickets. Last year I had a Friday night 27 game package and a Saturday night 27 game package. When post season tickets were offered to me they were in 345 – you can get sunburned from the scoreboard in that section. I was so upset where they moved me for post season that I talked to my account rep Dec 3rd and upgraded to full season in club 336 – the only 4 seat package available in club level. Two days later the trade goes down and the ticket sales go nuts.

    Now I’m on a waiting list for parking tickets. They won’t sell any until Olympia Entertainment decides how many to release. I’m scratching my head on this.

  13. btw Bilfer, right field grandstands is a good time. That section is the closest the fans can get to a player. There are regulars in the first three rows that are brutal with opposing right fielders.

    I sat there during the WS. I also sat there the night of the 3 am game versus the Yankees, the fans pretty much took Shelley Duncan out of the game.

    I imagine they’re a bit crazier than normal on Opening Day. Enjoy.

  14. I’m just smiling thinking about how everyone laughed at me when I decided to take the plunge and buy my 2 seat miniplan in January 2006 . . .

  15. I just got a letter from the Tigers letting me renew my package
    before the public gets a crack at them, BUT there is bad news.

    1) The only options are in the upper deck. You can no longer purchase 15 packs in the lower deck Pavilion. Your only choice is basically three outfield sections- Upper Box (there is some confusion as to which Upper Box seats), Mezzanine, and Upper Reserved.

    2) No Opening Day.

    3) Despite the fact that there are 13 Friday night games in the
    season, the Friday night pack offers only 11 Friday night games and 4 weekday games. The same goes for Sat and Sun packs.

    4) In the Friday pack there are TWO day games, and one of them is a Wednesday. While I don’t mind taking one day off to see a game, as I was going to anyway for Opening Day, and i like the idea of a “skip work to see a ballgame day” taking TWO personal days to do this is just a pain in the ass.

    As for the confusion regarding the Upper Box seats, the one sheet I have says “Upper Box RF” which is the 3Bline lower rows of seats, while it highlights the “Upper Box Infield” section on the diagram. To complicate things further, the sheet I have to fill out to return just says “Upper Box”.

    They could have done this a lot better….errr…

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