The Tampa Bay Rays are slightly reducing or maintaining prices on more than 60 percent of their tickets for next season, and moving weeknight game times up a half-hour to 6:40 p.m. during April and May.
Those were the two biggest items in the information released today. Most of the increases and decreases were minimal, such as $1 or $2 in either direction, and there also was some consolidation of price of seating and ticket categories, along with the continuation of varied pricing based on opponents and day of the week.
For example, while the lowest priced ticket went up from $8 to $9, the Rays are making that price available at considerably more games. In 2010, the $8 upper box/upper reserved ticket was only available for five games; in 2011 the $9 upper box/upper reserved ticket will be available for 30 games.
"Our basic philosophy was to make sure we had a large number of seats continue to be available at a real value for our fans,'' senior vice president Mark Fernandez said. "We'll have over a million tickets for 25 bucks or less and 30 games with a $9 ticket. We're staying really consistent with being one of the most affordable teams in sports.''
Also, the Rays are likely going to reduce capacity at Tropicana Field by about 2,500 by extending the tarps that cover the seats at the top of the upper deck, creating what Fernandez said will be a more "intimate" environment with about 34,500 seats available.
The Rays will have four different pricing categories, with the highest – Diamond – for the nine Friday, Saturday and Sunday games against the Red Sox and Cardinals. Those tickets range from $19-$300.
Next highest is Platinum, for the 12 Monday-Thursday games against the Yankees and Red Sox, plus the April 1 season opener vs. Those tickets range from $17-$275.
The Gold games are the 29 remaining Friday-Saturday-Sunday games, with the range from $12-$255.
The Silver games are the other 30 weekday games, with the range from $9-$210.
Season tickets, which offer a 25-30 percent discount, can be reserved now by going to raysbaseball.com, calling 888-FAN-RAYS or visiting the stadium or Tampa team store. Individual game tickets will be on sale in February.
The Rays will continue to allow fans to bring food and some beverages into the stadium and provide limited free parking for cars with four or more.
The 6:40 weekday start during the first two months of the season is in response to fan polling showing getting home earlier was more important when school is in session. Those games had started at 7:10.
Saturday game times haven't been set, but will remain in the evening, and the Rays plan to continue their highly successful concert series. Sunday games will remain at 1:40.