Angels exec: We don’t care about poor fans, because they don’t buy enough hot dogs

You know how often we will talk here about how the modern sports industry is all about selling tickets to rich folks, because that’s where the money is? Meet Los Angeles Angels vice president of marketing and ticket sales Robert Alvarado, who is not afraid to admit that not only does he target deep-pocketed fans, but really he’d just as soon fans without a lot of spending money stay the hell home:

“The conventional wisdom would tell you, ‘Let’s get the bodies in here, because they’re still gonna be spending money on parking, hot dogs, souvenirs, all that stuff.’ But we have not seen that in the past. Drawing in a discount buyer, they aren’t necessarily flipping and buying stuff here.”…

“We may not be reaching as many of the people on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder, but those people, they may enjoy the game, but they pay less, and we’re not seeing the conversion on the per-caps,” Alvarado said. “In doing so, the ticket price that we’re offering those people, it’s not like I can segregate them, because I’m offering it up to the public, and I’m basically downselling everybody else in order to accommodate them.”

The OC Weekly seems to think that by “segregate” Alvarado means setting up a special poor-only section at the ballpark; I think he actually was complaining that if you offer tickets at a price regular people can afford, then the upper crust will buy them at that price too, and you’re leaving money on the table that you could have effectively extracted from rich folks’ wallets. So better to charge everybody a ton for tickets, and if the “people on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder” don’t show up, that’s okay, because the people with money buy more hot dogs.

That’s really no different than teams wanting smaller stadiums so that they can sell fewer tickets at higher prices, but it’s said a bit more bald-facedly. So thank you, Robert Alvarado, for explaining the modern sports industry in simple English. Even if it might not win you many friends among Angels fans who can’t afford as many $4.50 hot dogs.

[UPDATE: Alvarado just resigned. Honesty gets you nowhere these days.]


9 comments on “Angels exec: We don’t care about poor fans, because they don’t buy enough hot dogs

  1. It makes sense from their end, but if they start actually implementing these policies cities that publicly finance these stadiums will need to work to prevent it. You can’t have the government building stadiums that only rich people can afford to go to.

  2. “You can’t have the government building stadiums that only rich people can afford to go to.”

    If there’s one thing that my last 20 years of research for this book and website shows, it’s that clearly you can.

  3. Alvarado resigned this week. http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-an-angels-vice-president-of-marketing-and-ticket-sales-resigns-20150617-story.html

  4. Look, the Angels have to recap the money they are throwing away or have thrown away on the contracts of Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, C.J. Willson, Jared Weaver, Torii Hunter, etc.

    So what if the common folk have to overpay for hot dogs?

    The 1 percenters are all that matter.

  5. Poor people on line 1.
    Failed Marketing 101. Wow, was Robert Alvarado really that stupid, or is the Mets GM position open?
    It’s true, tho. As a 99%er, I don’t spend anything at the ballpark because it’s too damn expensive. Eat before the ballgame, wear the gear to the park & drink after at home. Guess that angry executive who was pounding his fist on the window at me was mouthing “Spend that money!! Empty that wallet!!”

  6. Thank you Mr. Alvarado, for saying what we have always known all along: The ordinary tax payers who subsidize these facilities aren’t just subsidizing wealthy players and owners, they are subsidizing the wealthy fans who would prefer to not pay the full free market cost for their seats/suites/entertainment.

    The rest of us can just shut up. We should feel lucky we get to watch the rich people on tv (for a fee, of course).

    Can anyone remember why America threw off the shackles of the Monarchy 240 years ago????

  7. The simple answer is to create an “artisanal” gourmet hot dog that the rich guys will pay, say, 15 bucks for. And it can only be purchased in the luxury suites cuz otherwise it loses a lotta hot dog cachet.

    Proceeds from this hot dog, which costs about the same to produce as some Oscar Meyer tubesteak full of snouts, bones and floor sweepings from the rendering plant, will subsidize the hot dogs for the poor who enjoy your ball games.

    I know, it’s not like me to think that the proles should be helped out ont he backs of us noblemen, but hell, it’s only baseball. It’s like a step above hockey now, isn’t it?

    And also have your team execs stop with the foot in mouth deal.

  8. The Angels don’t mind losing butts in the seats if they can collect more for the seats they do sell, that makes sense. Disney is operating from the same class in business school, charging more to get into the parks but selling fewer tickets, which ironically provides a better experience at Disney from lower crowd impact. While Moreno may recoup his money in higher ticket price, the agreement with taxpayers who PAID for the Stadium and parking lot offers a measly $2 per ticket back to the Angel’s landlord (City of Anaheim) and only when attendance goes OVER a specific threshold (I’d have to look but I think it was 2MM visitors per season?). So when the seats are not filled, it is the taxpayers who get less return on our investment (which already does not cover costs) and if not enough butts fill the seats to hit the baseline of minimum tickets sold, we get NOTHING. The same formula dictates returns on the parking lot taxpayers funded, but Moreno controls and profits from. And it is Arte Moreno’s rather cavalier attitude toward Anaheim’s taxpayers that have residents rising up against the 3 elected Council members willing to give away the entire farm, while also throwing in the tractor, and maybe the farmer’s daughter.

    Moreno seems like a decent man, and he was a great owner when he first bought the team, presenting himself as the “everyday” guy and lowering the cost of beer in a bizarre but widely understood gesture toward the working classes of Anaheim. Where that owner went is a mystery, he disappeared about the same time he turned the name of OUR team (we invested too) into the punchline for late night talk show host monologues. The guy was smart enough to create billions from shoehorning in a product so unwanted in most municipalities they have written their own codes against billboard construction, THAT takes talent, brains, and guts beyond most people I know. It also takes an astonishing commitment to ignore the stated desires of local residents, which we now see playing out in his relationship with Anaheim. But someone THAT smart will eventually figure out that what he is doing is not working for him. I hope he eventually comes to the table and works out something to profit both his team and his landlord, because in his own self interest it does not draw fans to the Stadium if the surrounding community looks like a 3rd world rat hole for lack of funds to invest in infrastructure.

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