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February 10, 2010
Marlins prez: Buy tickets now, before they're partly gone!
The new Florida Marlins stadium is 22% complete, team president David Samson announced yesterday, which is apparently the magic number for trying to scare people into grabbing up season tickets before they're all gone. This is admittedly tricky when your season ticket base is only 5,000 fans, but Samson still gave it the old college try:
"The response has been, 'well, listen, I know I'm going to get in the area I want, so there's no rush'," Samson said. "What I'm telling them is 'listen, some of these areas are going to be sold out before you have a chance.' So for example, I've had people who want to buy the front row in our new batter's box we haven't announced what the name is but it's coming. The front row is sold out, it's done. Front row behind the dugout, those areas are sold out.
"If you don't have your place in line, the seats you think you're going to get aren't going to be available. I think the urgency will come. There was a far greater, like with the Twins, a far greater increase the year before [the new ballpark opened] than two years before. So I think we're still a year away from the big bump," Samson said. "I still expect more fans this year, we have a good team that's worth supporting, we have a ballpark that's coming up, there is no more excuse, other than no roof and no air conditioning."
I can see it now: "Come see your 2010 Marlins! Or else you might have to sit in the second row in 2012! Also, the players union made us actually re-sign some of our players this year!"
Joking aside, this will actually be an interesting test of whether the Marlins' legendary attendance woes are the result of a bad stadium, as team execs insisted, or of a fan base that has better things to do on summer evenings. (Not to mention a slight shortage of spending money.) If I'm the Tampa Bay Rays, I'd want to time my big stadium push for 2012, when the Marlins' stadium honeymoon is in full effect, because if other small-market teams' experience holds true, it might not be long before attendance falls back to pre-new-stadium levels.