From Robin To Rickie

February 24, 2006

Ticket Sales/Attendance Expectations

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Schmid @ 8:00 pm

On Saturday, the Brewers begin their 2006 ticket sales push toward the general public.

http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=403818

While this happens every year, this time around, the Brewers are expecting to surpass their record first day sales by a wide margin. As Jamie and I can attest, it can be a right of passage. Many times on this day, we stood for hours at County Stadium freezing, just to buy our opening day tickets.

Can the Brewers surpass their all-time attendance record of 2.8 million in 2001?

To do so, they would have to increase the per game attendance by over 7,500 from last season. Various ticket packages have been a hit with fans to help this cause. One of the good signs is that Brewers’ attendance did not fall off during the second half of 2004 or 2005. People were still willing to take in a game even with vacations, school, and the Packers starting again.

The Brewers and owner Mark Attanasio really hope to challenge that mark by improving the fan experience at Miller Park. Due to increased expectations, season tickets, group sales, and luxury suite sales have all increased. A new picnic area in right field is already sold out for the season and new message boards have been installed in the hopes to increase excitement. Over 50 of the 81 home games have either a promotion or ticket discount associated with them.

We all know that Brewers fans are pretty much the most fickle fans in all of Major League Baseball. They don’t come out to the ball park to see specific players. Simply put, they come out to see a winner. Mark Attanasio did not purchase the Brewers to lose money, nor should he be expected to. The success on the field translates into a better fan expereince and an improved product on the field. Combine that with increased revenue sharing and media deals provide a greater source of money from which to access. Ben Sheets’ contract, along with the trades for high-salaried players like Carlos Lee, are evidence of this change in mentality from the Dean Taylor era. You just don’t offer a contract to a player unless he fits into the the present and future plans for the organization. Up to this point, Doug Melvin has watched the purse strings very resourcefully.

With all due respect to the Selig regime, the current ownership and front office seem to have identified specific marketing avenues that make the average Milwaukeean want to make Miller Park a destination. They are creating a brand which not only appeals to most fans, but which will also generate revenue for the club.

Lastly, the Brewers are focusing a large portion of their revenue on the minor league system. As a small-market team, they must develop from within. Sal Bando ignored it, Dean Taylor began the rebuilding, and with Doug Melvin, we are now seeing the fruits of that labor. It must continue because Milwaukee will not be able to keep all of the Weeks and Fielders forever. Increased attendance is essential in this aspect to keep the best scouts, trainers, and coaches throughout the organization.

This leads me back to my initial question: Can the Brewers surpass their all-time attendance record of 2.8 million in 2001? At this point, I doubt it. They have a great chance to surpass their 2005 total of 2.2 million, but too many things have to fall in place. Ticket sales must be strong throughout the season, not just at the start, and staying in the wild card chace until the very end would help make that a reality.

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