Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Some Rays tickets could increase in price as season goes on

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — Sports fans may need to take a tip from airline travelers: Buy your tickets early, before prices go up.

The Tampa Bay Rays have made what they consider a minor adjustment to ticket prices, but one effect is that the cost of some tickets could go up during the year.

And the Rays aren't alone. The Tampa Bay Lightning began a similar practice earlier this year, and its ticket prices now fluctuate slightly according to demand.

Under the old Rays system, a fan would pay more to watch a game against the popular New York Yankees than to see a struggling club such as the Houston Astros. The most desirable games were called "diamond" games, which cost more than "platinum" games, and those cost more than ones rated as "gold" and "silver."

The team has stopped using the labels, and now says it could change prices during the season based on team popularity or a special event at the stadium.

"It's really very similar to the system before," Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said. "We just added some flexibility, and we're moving away from using those names.

"We've always encouraged our fans to buy in advance," and this system reinforces that, he said.

Vaughn used an example: Say you buy a ticket today for a Friday night game in June. But then later, a band is scheduled to play a concert after that game. Vaughn said the Rays might increase the ticket price, because fans will be getting something extra.

If you bought your ticket early, you paid less. If you wait until later, you could pay more.

Now, imagine the Rays in a pennant race, playing one of their rivals in a crucial end-of-season game. Will the price of that ticket go up, too?

"It's possible," Vaughn said.

At Tampa Bay Lightning games, the price can go up or down a few percentage points — possibly as much as 10 percent — as the game approaches, said team spokesman Bill Wickett.

It's a system known as dynamic pricing, he said, and has become increasingly common at sports venues across the country.

Of a half-dozen Rays fans the Times interviewed outside Tropicana Field Thursday, most weren't thrilled with the idea.

"I think they should set the price at the beginning of the year, and it's what the price should be for the whole year," said Ed Hunter, 79, of St. Petersburg, a retired postal employee.

"I don't think it's fair," said Karen Moyer, 50, of St. Petersburg.

But Beth Cadwell, 29, of St. Petersburg could see some benefits of the system, because now fans know that buying early might lock in a better price.

Although some don't like the change, everyone interviewed Thursday said that overall, Rays ticket prices are reasonable. Cadwell said she can often get into Tropicana Field for $10 to $15 on a weeknight, and "that's a great price to see a Major League team that I love."

Although Vaughn said some Rays tickets could go up during the year, he didn't expect any to go down. He pointed out that ESPN in 2012 ranked the Rays as the No. 1 team for "affordability," out of 122 Major League, NBA, NFL and NHL teams. The Lightning was No. 14 on the same list.

"We feel our tickets are priced well to begin with," Vaughn said.

Comments
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17
UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE: Rays to gain draft pick for loss of free agent pitcher Alex Cobb

UPDATE, 5:01: Cobb did not accept the offer by the deadline, as expected.DEVELOPING: Sometime before today's 5 p.m. deadline, the Rays will get official word that their $17.4-million slight gamble on Alex Cobb paid off.The Rays made the free-agent ri...
Published: 11/16/17
As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

As he prepares to leave the Rays, how will you remember Alex Cobb?

Presuming Alex Cobb declines the Rays’ one-year, $17.4-million qualifying offer by 5 p.m. today, he has pitched his last game for Tampa Bay.Cobb has received preliminary interest from "lots of teams" already, agent Dan Horwits said. The Cubs and Twin...
Published: 11/16/17
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says progress must continue on new stadium to keep Rays

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made clear Thursday that identification of a site for a new Rays stadium is merely the first step for area leaders to show they want to keep the team long-term and that there needs to "consistent forward movement" on the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

Sternberg: Tampa Bay Rays' share of new ballpark could be $150 million

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said Wednesday that the team is "genuinely excited" about the proposed Ybor City site for a new stadium and more than "cautiously optimistic" the project can be completed. But ...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17

Rays journal: No big deals at GM meetings, but possible groundwork laid

By MARC TOPKINLAKE BUENA VISTA — Rays officials left the GM meetings without making any big deals — such as trading Alex Colome or Chris Archer to the Cardinals — but more knowledgeable about the possibilities. "Expectations were to utilize these few...
Published: 11/15/17
Watch: Brandy Halladay’s emotional tribute to her late husband, Roy

Watch: Brandy Halladay’s emotional tribute to her late husband, Roy

For his wife, Brandy, Roy Halladay was so much more than a standout pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies.During a a celebration of life ceremony Tuesday at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Brandy remembered Halladay — who died Nov...
Published: 11/15/17