The Indians are near the bottom in Major League attendance, and the total numbers are well off from the glory days of the 1999s and 2000s. Certainly, the teams lackluster record and second half crashes have a played a role. Fans are waiting to be convinced this team is really competitive before the come down to Progressive Field in droves.
However, this is only part of the story. I want to introduce you to a concept called Revenue Management, or Revenue Maximization. It is used by airlines and hotels, and now Cleveland has brought it to baseball. The team started with the concept a few years ago by charging more for individual tickets to premium games.
Premium games being any game that they could charge higher ticket prices for.
For instance, if the Yankees were coming in, or the Tigers had a weekend series in July, the Tribe increased the price of those series. This year, the team has taken it a step further, and the prices of individual game tickets fluctuate by game, and vary by substantial amounts.
For example, I went to a weekday game and was able to buy Viewbox seats (those in the first rows of the upper deck) for $30. I went back for a Saturday night with fireworks and those seats were selling for $58!! Almost double the price. Other sections showed similar jumps. The team has made a decision to sell fewer tickets at higher prices.
As a matter of fact, they are choosing to not sell lower priced seats in the upper deck. (See picture). There are good reasons for this, but it does force fans into the higher priced seats.
Is it a good idea? Team management will have to make that judgment, but for every fan that decides to skip the game because of the high prices, the team loses out on potential concession revenues along with the ticket price.
So, next time the players, announcers or management laments the low attendance, remember that the team is doing their part to keep fans from the park.