Seats to Phillies will cost a bit more in '09

So what’s the only negative about winning a title? It puts the ticket department about a month behind; a small sacrifice, for sure.

So, in the case of the Phillies, season ticketholders are only this week beginning to see what it will cost to view the world champions next year. Prices are going up for those who purchase the variety of season-ticket packages or buy seats for individual games. Those hikes range from $2 to $6 a seat, but not across the board.

“Some of the areas we haven’t raised since we moved into Citizens Bank Park,” John Weber, vice president for sales and ticket operations, said yesterday. “Our terrace deck went up from $20 to $22 for a season price, and it was $20 when we moved in in 2004. That [field level] area that was $40 when we opened . . . went to $44 in 2007, and we raised it to $50 [for next year]. And some other areas went up as well.

“Each year you kind of look at it. You have an area where you may or may not have done the year before, and pick and choose and go from there.”

Prices for 2009 full season ticketholders already are up on the team Web site. They range from $4,100 for spots on the field level to $1,316 in part of the terrace deck.

Weber said that his staff this week is reaching out to customers who signed up for deposits for either postseason options or put down a deposit to be first in line for season tickets for 2009.

“We’re asking them to call us and anybody who doesn’t call us, we’ll reach back out to them,” he said. 

Season ticketholders should be receiving their invoices by the middle of next week. Then the staff will work toward filling many of the other available packages before tickets for individual games go on sale. Expect to see similar increases for the cost of seats that you buy for individual games as the announced hikes for season ticket packages.

“We sell individual tickets in probably another week to 10 days,” Weber said. “If something went up $3; give you an example, the terrace deck that was $20 and $22, they went to $22 and $24. So, again, $2 and $2, not $2 and $8 or anything like that. But we maintained the season discount for season ticketholders, we maintained the April, May, September pricing, with the lower price and the prime pricing. A lot of things stayed the same.”

Opening Day is scheduled for 8 p.m. Sunday, April 5, vs. the Braves. The game will be televised on ESPN2. That won’t be the first game at Citizens Bank Park in 2009. Those will be Friday, April 3, and Saturday, April 4, when the Tampa Bay Rays head north for two exhibition games. The Friday game will start at 7:05 p.m. and the Saturday game will start at 1:05 p.m. Pitchers and catchers start working out, by the way, on Feb. 14. It's coming fast.

The Phils are coming off the best attendance season in their history, drawing 3.4 million during the regular season plus stuffing the place for all seven postseason games. Still, Weber said, they’re far from being in the same boat at the NFL Eagles and MLB Red Sox, where people’s names sit on a season-ticket waiting list. Reportedly, the Red Sox have a waiting list of 7,000 for season tickets to Fenway Park.

“We had great support last year, we were able to increase our season-ticket base to over 20,000 last year, and obviously we’re looking forward to an exciting season next year,” he said, responding to a question about whether the Phillies had any kind of a waiting list. “Obviously the economy and a lot of other things factor in, but hopefully with the wide spectrum of plans, the wide spectrum of prices we have, will allow all of our fans to attend. We have waiting lists of people trying to get into different areas of our ballpark -- Diamond Club, Hall of Fame, the seats from [sections] 115 to 132. Those areas are not available. So there are elements of our ballpark [where people are waiting for available seats]. But I think we designed the right size [ballpark] for Philadelphia and our fans."