Optimism surrounding the start of the baseball season has been clouded with the reality that traditional Opening Day sellouts may soon be followed by an expanse of empty seats around big league ballparks.
The Orioles sold out today’s opener against the Yankees, but the club remains concerned that its string of decreasing annual attendance will be exacerbated by the economic downturn, the Baltimore Sun reports today. The team is introducing a variety of promotions to lure fans to what is still one of finest venues in pro sports but has become less of a destination after years of losing seasons. The team is offering free admission to kids 10-and-under every Thursday and fans can catch a game for free during their birthday month.
The Blue Jays are realistic about 2009, the Globe and Mail reports, that the team isn’t likely to contend and that attendance not continue to increase as it did every season when Paul Godfrey was at the helm.
A sign of the times? Cactus League attendance was down across Arizona from 7,436 in 2008 to 6,396 this spring.
The Myrtle Beach Sun has a Q&A with general manager North Johnson, in which, among other things, he notes: the team is hte most affordable form of local entertainment, has a love-fest relationship with the Braves that should continue, and the club will increase team-related giveaways at the gate.
Steep ticket prices in the Bronx and at Citi Field could pay off for Triple-A Rochester, as the Red Wings may get a boost from fans who choose to stick with the more affordable baseball alternative. "It could be $400 and that could be for not even a great seat at Yankee Stadium, for a family of four. You can come here for 30 bucks on a Tuesday night. So I think certainly that’s going to bode well," Rochester GM Dan Mason said in this piece.
The Hartford Courant takes a look at how this season projects compared to past recessions, as this year should be the ultimate test for baseball’s recession-proof status.
The OC Register asks: If a home run ball lands in a forest and no one is around to see it … who will pay to see baseball anymore? "Torii Hunter chimes in within this piece that baseball should serve as the ultimate distraction during hard times. And the Angels may be primed to do just that, as owner Arte Moreno says the club has retained 90 percent of its season-ticket holders.
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