In the middle of the worst U.S. economy since the Great Depression, the Mets felt the effects more than any other team in the Florida Grapefruit League this spring according to a report in the NY Post. Tradition Field suffered a year over year loss of 16.3% in ticket sales this year. That’s an average of almost 1,000 fewer fans per game over their 16 game home schedule. Compare that to the Yankees loss of just 1.6% over last year’s spring ticket sales.
The Arizona Catcus League losses were even worse. From the NY Post:
Teams in the Cactus League in Arizona suffered far worse drops, however. The Padres’ attendance fell a whopping 30.8 percent, while Texas dropped 26.2 percent and the Angels 25.1 percent.
In my mind, this goes to show that the Mets organization severely underestimated the effect that the current economy would have on spring attendance. They should have adjusted ticket prices and promotions to compensate for the environmental factors that they were up against.
The Mets didn’t bring in any “big splash” free agents that would draw fans to Tradition Field. Francisco Rodriuguez doesn’t really qualify in the same way that CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira did for the Yankees. Hopefully, the Mets learned a lesson the hard way and will apply what they learned to the high-end ticket prices this season at Citi Field.