Ask Gary: Full prices for pretend games?

by Gary Shelton on August 15, 2015 · 7 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

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Do you think the NFL will ever stop charging full price for exhibition game tickets and/or unbundle them from the season ticket packages?

Scott Myers

Why should they? Most fans just shrug and take it, as if it's simply the cost of a ticket. Given the prices of tickets these days, I'm surprised they don't charge the stadiums with pitchforks. I think it's the worst highway robbery in sports. Why don't
starting quarterbacks play longer? Because it's practice. So why charge a fortune for that same practice?

It's one reason I think there is any momentum at all between canceling two preseason games in favor of two regular season games. To me, that would be the only adjustment,

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

scott myers August 16, 2015 at 8:24 am

So the Rays uncovered seats for the 8/8/2015 game?


Gary Shelton August 16, 2015 at 9:49 am

I assume they used other seats than the 31,042. I don’t know they were covered or just unused, and I don’t know if they were in a section to themselves. But if they weren’t sold as part of the 31,042, and the Honored Pass members sat, I assume those were seats that are not designated for sale.


Rick Martin August 16, 2015 at 7:56 am

Since moving here in 2009, I’ve been a Bucs season pass member. They use that term instead of season ticket holder because they want you to believe that you’re paying for an entire experience including preseason, regular season, special practice session at OBP, tours of OBP, breakfast with the GM, HC, etc. They don’t want you to look at it as a price per game – otherwise it is outrageous to expect to pay full price for fake preseason games with practice squad players on the field. All that being said, this will be my last season as a pass member…….HDTV and air conditioning for me, even if they go 16-0 this season. I guess I’m just getting too old to enjoy the stadium experience as I did at the old Sombrerro as a college kid decades ago.


scott myers August 15, 2015 at 9:39 am

Hi Gary,
You stated:
“I reached out to Rick Vaughn, the head of public relations for the Rays. The figures published are the paid attendance and do not reflect the Honor Pass attendees.”

Ok, so last Saturday – 8/8/2015 – the Rays reported a sellout of 31,042 for their game against the Mets. So no Honor Pass attendees were in the park for that game? I find that hard to believe!


Gary Shelton August 15, 2015 at 10:02 am

No. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying the attendance figures published do not include the Honor Passes. They are not reflected in the official attendance reported to the league. The sellout attendance figure fluctuates. Always has.


scott myers August 15, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Say what?

Capacity of the Trop is 31,042. If reported paid attendance is 31,042, how can there be room for any Honor Pass attendance?


Gary Shelton August 15, 2015 at 7:57 pm

Over the life of the Rays, a “sell-out” has been many different figures, including some games in the 40,000s. Basically, a sellout is the number of seats they think is worth selling. And the current configuration is 31,042. But in 1998, a sellout was 45,369, and the building hasn’t shrunk. The top 16 sellouts are all listed at least 36,048. So there are plenty of seats for those on the Honor Pass and still to sell 31,042.


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