This has been a growing trend around baseball in the past few years, to offer what is effectively a “standby” pass, allowing fans to show up for games at the last minute and get seats on the day. Typically using a phone app, to help avoid potential scalping of cheap tickets, last year’s version for the Diamondbacks cost $50, and allowed fans to attend up to 25 games at Chase Field in June and July. The price was the same whether you went to one game or twenty-five, and so encouraged regular use. The team benefited, not just from the income of the passes, but also the additional concessions, merchandise, etc. that the extra bodies in the stadium bought.
Last year, the impact was significant, as we discovered when we looked at 2017 attendance. Before the pass started, average crowds at Chase Field were down about 3,400 a game. During the period covered by the pass, they were UP by almost 4,800. And it appears some of them stuck around for the stretch run, though the improvement was smaller, and likely also impacted by the first post-season run since 2011. Initially, the team would not commit to bringing the pass back, and that makes sense - it’s a lot harder to sell season tickets, if everyone knows you’ll be offering a $2 per game option!
Crowds at Chase have been better this year, with an increase so far of about three thousand per game. That’s likely a result of the team’s success last year, and also their hot start in 2018 - it stands in contrast to the rest of baseball, where the average crowd is down by almost two thousand. But as Keegan mentioned in Snake Bytes, the team announced yesterday that the ballpark pass would be returning for 2018. And, indeed, expanding: this year’s offering will cover 40 games rather than 25, allowing entrance to any Diamondbacks home game from Memorial Day through to Labor Day. The price increases from $50 to $80, but the potential rate of $2 per game remains the same.
While team president Derrick Hall was, inevitably, touting the promotion heavily, it was interesting that manager Torey Lovullo is entirely behind the idea as well. He said: “It brought a lot of fans, and it brought a lot of support to the team. We want to connect with this community. And we know that there’s some special fans out there that want to come out and support us. And when they do, it just brings a different vibe and a different environment to Chase. The fans that come out and support us the way they do, the players feel it. We feel it in the dugout. It helps.”
If you want to take advantage, you’d better have your finger on the button, because last season’s quota of passes - around four thousand or so - sold out very quickly. There’s no word yet on the number of passes which will be offered in 2018, but I imagine they will also go fast. They are on sale through the Diamondbacks web site at 9am tomorrow morning.