Putting (Preferably Warm) Bodies in the Seats

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Miami Marlins opted against spending any money on their payroll (and by extension, their win-loss record) this season, and it has put their ticket office in a bind. Turns out (stop me if you've heard this one before) fans don't buy tickets to watch crappy teams. You can imagine our surprise when we figured this out.

So the Marlins have taken the unprecedented (we think) step of putting tickets to their April 8 home opener on Groupon (funniest line from the ad: "Limit 8 per person"). Our first reaction was that if the Marlins really wanted to put fans in the seats, they could have, you know, not traded away almost every good player on their roster last winter. But perhaps fielding a quad-A team while cashing MLB's revenue sharing checks is more profitable than spending an extra $30 million on payroll and not losing the trust of your fan base every seven years.

If only Groupon was around ten years ago. In 2002, Ted and I went to the Marlins' home opener, along with 23,875 other fans (or roughly two-thirds of Joe Robbie Stadium's baseball capacity). The highlight of the night came when a Mike Lowell home run was overturned (called a foul ball instead) and fans responded by throwing their schedule magnets (that night's giveaway) onto the field. The Marlins lost 10-2. Had our tickets been bundled with a merchandise voucher (as well as a voucher for tickets to another game, as in the current Groupon deal), we could all have thrown souvenir bats onto the field as well.

Here's to missed opportunities...


Milhouse Trabajo March 25, 2013 at 12:26 PM  

Money quote: "And today, after some light rebranding to go along with the new ballpark, the rechristened Miami Marlins aim to continue traditions new and old, expand their list of Hall of Famers, and train the ballpark’s fish to stealthily intercept batting signals."

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