Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Phils, ticket office preparing for tiebreakers

The Phillies already have sent out some tickets for potential tiebreakers, and then they'll work the Internet and phone (and windows) to quickly sell the rest.

Phils, ticket office preparing for tiebreakers


This is the weekend where you can have fun with the word hypothetical, with three baseball teams at this writing separated by a game and a half and a nor’easter threatening to royally screw up the schedules for the Phillies and the Mets.

So, here’s what we do know. That if the Phillies and Mets wind up tied for first in the National League East, the tiebreaker game would be in Philly on Monday. Same if the Mets skipped past the Phils, who wound up tied with the Brewers for the wild card. The Phillies would play host to the Brewers here on Monday.

And if the Brewers, Phillies and Mets wound up tied, then the Phils and Mets would play at Citizens Bank Park on Monday, with the winner taking the division title and then preparing for the playoffs. If the Phillies would lose that, they’d play a tiebreaker vs. Brewers here Tuesday to determine the wild card qualifier.

John Weber, the VP for Sales and Ticket Operations, said full season-ticketholders should already have received tiebreaker tickets in the mail for two potential games. “And we’re in the process of working on a game plan to get information to our partial season ticketholders in terms of some sort of pre-sale opportunity and then to our e-mail club [for a] presale opportunity potentially over the weekend,” he said. “And once it became apparent, and this is where the Internet is a fantastic help to you, you’d be able to sell a lot of tickets over the Internet and over the phones and you’d have walk-up as well. But we’re still kind of working on all those plans.”

Losses the past 2 nights, Weber noted, has added a bit more urgency to having those contingency plans ready. “I thought about them a couple of weeks ago, I put them away Sunday and Monday,” he said, “and then I brought them back out. So that’s what we’re working on.”

Weber noted that the Phillies went through this drill last year, when it appeared the Phillies and Mets would wind up tied for the division lead and that a tiebreaker would be played Monday at Citizens Bank Park. He said they sold plenty of tickets that Saturday and Sunday to a potential tiebreaker. “So we know we can do it,” Weber said. “Because of the Internet, it’s one game, you can sell an awful lot of ticket fairly quickly to one game.”

That would include opening the ticket windows during and after Sunday’s finale, if needed.

Of course, you could potentially wind up with a Sunday doubleheader, depending on how much rain falls in the next 48 hours and when it finally ends. Friday night’s game appears most in peril; what was originally a night game Saturday already has been moved to 3:55 p.m. to accommodate national TV. Weber said both teams and Major League Baseball would make the decision on whether that makeup game would be Saturday or Sunday. Guessing here, but in both cases it would mean clearing the stadium and then letting the crowd in for another game rather than putting on a traditional doubleheader where the fans stay put after the first game. Assuming that happens on Sunday, the Fan Appreciation game would remain the first one, starting at 1:35, with the postponed game being played that night. But the whens and hows remain in flux; the Phillies figure to update fans as quickly as possible on their Web site.

As for the playoffs, those tickets all went out to season-ticketholders last week. The Phillies will sell standing-room tickets for playoff games, but they sell them in advance. None is sold the day of the game.

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About this blog
Paul Vigna still has the seat he wrestled out of the concrete at Connie Mack Stadium parked in the finished basement, a 1980 Phillies championship mirror hanging above it. Now, why he’s kept an autograph of former Flyer Bruce Gamble on a sheet of Hockey Hall of Fame paper is another story. A native of Philly who grew up in Lansdale, he’s an assistant sports editor at the Daily News in charge of special projects who has written two columns related to sports and consumers: View From the Seats and Savvy Consumer.

Athletic contests were, for a long time, simply fun and games. Nowadays they’re just a small part of a sports entertainment industry that puts billions of dollars into play and a number of issues into motion. Moneyball indeed. You might be closer to the action than ever before, but that privilege comes at a price - and often it’s beyond what you can afford.

With that as the backdrop we’ll use this blog to dig out stories and swap advice about how the fan experience is changing and what it’s costing you now and in the future. Some of it will educate, some will let you vent. And in a sports panel format, it should allow for a consensus of opinion that can carry some weight.

Reach Paul at vignap@phillynews.com.

Paul Vigna
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