Friday, July 3, 2015

Sold out? For the Phils, that's not exactly the case

In general, tickets to see the Phillies at home for the first round are less expensive than a year ago

Sold out? For the Phils, that's not exactly the case


The Phillies say they’ve sold out of their tickets for the first round of the playoffs, which open here Wednesday and continue Thursday, with an if-needed Game 5 coming back to Citizens Bank

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Park next Tuesday.



But these days that just means you look else where and be prepared to pay more than the cover price. Although watching the stock market at the moment, you can’t help but wonder if the charge for these tickets won’t come down rather dramatically over the next 24 hours. Expectation is one thing; reality is another.



In a release that StubHub had prepared earlier today for all of the playoff series, there were 1100 tickets available for Game 1 in Philly, 2500 available for Game 2 and 1300 for sale for the potential game 5. The numbers, in general, were half that in Milwaukee, where fans in Wisconsin haven’t seen their team in the playoffs since 1982. Miller Park has a capacity (43,000) within a thousand or two of the ballpark here.



The average ticket for the three games at Citizens Bank Park is $152, ranging from $46 to $750. That’s significantly lower than last year, where the average ticket price for Phillies home games against the Rockies was $270.



Matched against the other cities, the tickets here reportedly are falling in the middle of the scale. Tickets to see the Cubs at Wrigley Field are averaging $347, far and away higher than any other city. The average for home Red Sox games is $197, and for home Brewers game is $168. On the low end are the Dodgers ($107), Angels ($102) and Tampa Bay Rays ($84).



Don Vaccaro, CEO of, reported a couple of hours ago that they are posting around 500 tickets for each of the three Phillies home games at an average price of $172. “Get-in prices,” he said, are around $85. Rather see the Phils in Milwaukee this weekend? It’s certainly doable. Perhaps the excitement of the Brewers’ first trip to the playoffs in 26 years will stir the fan base to come out and support the team, but that base is somewhat smaller than here. The Phillies finished fifth in attendance this year, averaging a team-record 42.254. The Brewers were ninth, bringing in almost 38,900 a game.



As far as ordering online, you’re better off ordering a day or 2 ahead of the game to make sure you allow enough time for the tickets to be shipped to your home. Asked whether anyone sells e-tickets where you can print them out at home, Vaccaro said there might be, but added that “we always prefer to sell hard tickets or souvenir tickets, because e-tickets can easily be duplicated. It’s known in the marketplace that different venues might have trouble with e-tickets, because you might have a customer coming in with one really good ticket and all their friends are sitting in the upper levels. So they do what’s traditionally called the pass-back, where they make 10 copies of their good ticket, their friends in the upper level would have the bad ticket, and then once inside they give them a copy of the good tickets and those people would all walk downstairs. So it creates a dangerous situation inside the stadiums."



Average ticket prices for last year’s series against Colorado were over $190, Vaccaro said. What affects that? “That the Phillies were in the playoffs last year, and as each year goes by that a team is in it, generally the playoff tickets don’t demand as much of a high price. A lot of the fans who went to the first round last year say, ‘I really don’t need to go to the first round this year, so the supply for the first round goes up.”


Bryan Abrams of B&B Tickettown in Wilmington said earlier today that they’re not seeing a diminished enthusiasm. “From our perspective, we had a lot of interest this morning,” he said. “People were calling and being in line just as much as last year.”



In that they deal with season ticketholders, they had no tickets available earlier today, but he said that they expect to get back a few from clients who, for whatever reason, won’t be able to make Wednesday’s 3 p.m. start.       

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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

Paul Vigna
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