English: Citi Field during the day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Surprise!!! Attendance at Citi Field was down again. Home attendance has been dropping steadily since the Mets moved into Citi Field in 2009. They went from 3.1 million tickets sold to 2.5 (2010), to 2.3 (2011), and now bottoming out at 2.2 million.
If you’ve been to a game this year, you know that they didn’t have the 27,000+ average tickets sold in the park. It was a ghost town unless R.A. Dickey or Johan Santana were pitching.
33% of the available tickets went unsold this year despite the team’s aggressive marketing tactics (you know what I mean if you’re on their email list). And they reduced ticket prices this season… Again.
Maybe the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson might start to get the idea that they need to win some games to sell tickets. That would be a novel idea.
According to ESPN stats, attendance at Citi Field is down about 10% in 2012 through the first 19 home games. The Mets are averaging 27,683 paid per game. They finished 2011 averaging 30,108 in a park with a capacity of 42,000.
The Mets finished 2011 averaging 14th in MLB in home attendance. So far in 2012, they’ve slipped to 16th in the league.
Of course, much of attendance can be attributed to on-field performance. But the Mets have surprised early this season tied for third in the NL East and attendance is still slipping. The visiting opponents have a lot to do with interest in buying tickets as well. So far, the Mets have hosted the Braves, Nationals, Giants, Marlins, D-Backs, Brewers, and Reds.
The backlash against the Wilpons for the Madoff Ponzi scheme lawsuit also has something to do with fans staying away from Citi Field in my opinion. Allowing Jose Reyes to walk away in free agency because of related financial constraints didn’t help sway ticket buyers either.
It’ll be interesting to watch how attendance fluctuates this season. My guess is that the average game attendance continues to slide as the Mets begin to gravitate toward their predicted finish of an under-.500 team.
A report by Forbes details the Mets bridge loan from Bank of America and how it was used to pay the debt payment on bonds that financed Citi Field. I wrote about the bridge loan on Monday and the story for the Mets gets worse as more details emerge. The Mets partially funded Citi Field with $547 million of tax-exempt bonds. A payment was due last month for $43.8 million and the Mets didn’t have the money to pay.
The holding company for the bonds, Ambac Assurance Company, had promised to pay the debt payments if the Mets defaulted. But Ambac went belly up in 2010 and filed for bankruptcy. So the Mets defaulting on the debt payment would have left the bond holders with nothing to show for their investment in the team.
The Mets still have payments coming due of $32 million in each of 2013 and 2014. So there’s still a chance they could default. But the Mets are planning to use the $40 million bridge loan to tide them over until they can sell pieces of the team to “small” investors in hopes of raising $200 million.
It’s a sad state of affairs for the Mets. Hopefully, it won’t end in bankruptcy court like the Dodgers and Rangers did recently. In the meantime, we’re the ones left holding the bag with a team that doesn’t appear to have a chance of a winning record in 2012.
The Mets are following on the heels of the new Miami Marlins’ uniforms with some changes of their own to the uniform. ESPN is reporting that the Mets will hold a press conference on Tuesday to display the changes. The word is that the Mets are going retro for their 50th anniversary in 2012 and that they’re going to reduce the black used.
I won’t complain about either change. The Mets have had problems embracing their past, most notably when Citi Field opened and the Mets forgot to include any team memorabilia or images in the park. So switching to a retro look of pinstripe with “Mets” on the front and no black shadows is fine with me. Also, reducing the use of the black alternate uniforms is a solid choice at this point. They’ve over-utilized the black uniform to the point that I forgot that it was the alternate it was used so often.
Brian Erni from MetsBlogalso reports that David Wright, Ike Davis, and Lucas Duda will be at the press conference. Presumably, they’ll be there to model the retro look uniforms. It’s interesting that Wright will be continuing to do everything the Mets ask of him despite the trade talk that’s been in the news this offseason. It would certainly be awkward if the was traded in the near future after attending a press conference on behalf of the team.
I was at at the Mets-Cubs game last night with my father and I wanted to share a few images with you. As you know, it was another disappointing loss in a season filled with them so far. But the pre-game ceremony was more than worth the price of admission. The crowd was sparse as you would expect at this point in the season without playoff hopes. And the Cubs aren’t exactly a draw either.
There were representatives from pretty much every city service agency on the field before the game along with the kids from Tuesday’s Children. The NYPD and FDNY bagpipers and drummers were marching in a stirring ceremony that was filled with emotion. Continue reading “Mets September 11, 2011 Game”
Hey Mets Fans! This is baseball at it’s finest! A 5-13 start! Worst record in baseball! But hey, the Mets do have a manager who spent all spring pushing fundamentals and all that hard work is paying off.
But let’s go back on the field and watch Carlos Beltran hit one homer after another in his quest for riches from his next team. He’s not selfish! Wink, wink… Watch as David Wright flips his helmet in amazingly accurate fashion towards the ground as he watches another homer die at the warning track or racks up another strikeout. All this while he’s thinking, “[email protected]%$, I could be hitting 50 F’in homers in Philly!” Watch as Ike Davis attempts to show up a few more umpires after arguing balls and strikes. Watch the uncoachable Jose Reyes play the game the same way he’s played it for the last 5 years, never improving but never getting any worse either. Watch the 2nd baseman of the day screw up another double play. Check out the left-fielder of the day from double or triple AAA as they drop a ball in left field. Watch as the Mets pinch hitters bunt into double plays. Watch as Dish Network drops SNY and nobody cares.
Watch Terry Collins do more running than any current Mets player as he makes run after run to the pitching mound. No wonder Sandy Alderson needed a manager with so much energy! Check out the new Mets who, when they smell a win once a week, play it like the 7th game of a World Series. It’s April and it’s “ALL HANDS ON DECK!” Continue reading “The Amazing Mets! What Fundy’s! Baseball at it’s Finest”
If you’re on the Mets email list, you know that they’ve been sending a constant stream of emails attempting to entice you into purchasing tickets for the 2011 season. I haven’t purchased any yet and I don’t plan to until I get a sense for what this team looks like on the field. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t liked what I’ve seen since 2007 and I’m just not motivated by the slight roster changes this year to purchase tickets.
Ken Belson and Richard Sandomir wrote a good piece in today’s NY Times about the state of the team’s finances, as if we haven’t read enough about that recently, and the Mets tickets sales for this year. They write that ticket sales for this season are going so poorly that the team is literally in a state of panic about it. Apparently, they replaced the long-time head of ticket sales and last week let go of several full-time employees, and aren’t re-hiring several part-time employees in the ticket office.
I hate to hear that people are losing their jobs. I’ve been laid off before too and it’s a terrible experience. So I don’t wish that on anybody. Often, it’s not the person getting laid off that’s at fault either. Poor management decisions can lead to that and the poor managers often keep their jobs for some unknown reason.
The Catch-22 of the situation is that the Mets didn’t make any changes to the roster that would motivate fans, like me, to go out and buy a ticket plan. Fans aren’t buying tickets so the team doesn’t have the revenue to make major player moves. My strategy this year, as it has been the last several seasons, is to look for a good team and pitching match up and buy tickets on the secondary market for those individual games. I feel that it’s helping the fans that did purchase season tickets to sell some of them. Although I probably end up buying tickets from some horrible broker that bought thousands of tickets. Who knows when you buy on StubHub?
I’m curious to know what you ticket buying strategy is for 2011. Leave a comment below.
About 600,000 fewer of us visited Citi Field in 2010 than in 2009. That pretty much says it all. There just hasn’t been a reason to get excited about this team all year. Although the Mets were mathematically eliminated in recent weeks, we’ve known since after the All-Star break that this team was going nowhere. That 2-9 road trip to the west coast coming out of the break took what was left of the wind out of their sails.
Nobody other than Scott Boras cares if Mike Pelfrey gets his 16th win today. It’s a meaningless feat for an irrelevant team.
The good news, depending upon your perspective, is that the firings will start tomorrow. You’ve probably heard the rumors that Omar Minaya will be fired or moved to another job where the damage that he does is contained. Jerry Manuel won’t return as manager. Most of us knew that when the Mets didn’t get off to that hot start that Manuel talked about all spring. He was cooked by April.
I, for one, happily say “goodbye” to the 2010 Mets. And good riddance. I won’t miss you when you’re gone.