ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays are taking the first step toward welcoming fans back to Tropicana Field for the coming season by offering a “season membership” plan rather than traditional season tickets, with the first of six price levels starting at $500.
What that means is that all of Tropicana Field will be used under somewhat of a flex pack plan: A fan spends a certain amount of money to access different seating areas, then uses their funds however they want. A $2,000 plan can be used for 100 $20 tickets or 20 $100 tickets over the course of a season, with a limit of six per game.
Ticket prices will be set in the next couple of weeks; members will get discounted ticket (and parking) prices and priority access.
The Rays said they chose this model because traditional fixed season ticket locations will not be available for 2021 “in order to ensure socially distant seating.” Rays vice president Jeff Tanzer said the new plan provides fans “tremendous flexibility and value, along with priority access to tickets and incredible benefits throughout the year.”
The initial announcement did not include all of the details but listed a range of price levels from $500 to $20,000, based on the seating areas, and included only regular-season games. The Rays expect to add seating in the upper deck to the membership options.
Members will get to pick their games before opening day, though not all 81 may be offered for sale at first. Ticketing will be contactless and processed through the MLB Ballpark app.
Fans will pick from seating arranged in pod-style groupings to follow distancing guidelines. So, in theory, if they choose early and have the same number of tickets for all games, they could get the same or similar seats.
Fans who have credits from the 2020 season can apply them to a season member plan, and must use them by the end of the 2021 season. Information on single-game ticket sales is forthcoming.
The Rays previously said they planned to host fans from the start of the 2021 season, with capacity likely limited to around 7,000 in socially distanced seating pods. Masks would be required except for when a fan is actively eating or drinking at their seat.
According to Wednesday’s release, they “continue to work with Major League Baseball and local public health authorities to determine when and how to safely welcome fans back to Tropicana Field. A health and safety protocol which includes a reduced capacity, socially distanced seating and mandatory face masks except while actively eating or drinking in your seat, will be announced prior to the start of the season.”
Information on tickets for spring training home games is expected later this week or next.