Are you debating whether or not to pull the trigger on Mets season tickets? I made the plunge this past season. And like you, I reached the end of the Internet to help make my decision. After trolling Reddit and obsessively Googling questions like, “are baseball season tickets worth it” and “how do season tickets work?” and “Mets season ticket packages”– I took the calculated risk and went with a 20-game package.
Despite my intense research, I found very few answers, making me wonder if the Mets season ticket experience is purposely shrouded in secrecy, a pact made by MLB teams and super fans to preserve a host of benefits only unlocked for the fortunate few who make the plunge.
This article aims to talk about some of the lesser-discussed nuances of being a baseball season ticket holder.
And let’s be clear. I am not griping about the MLB season ticket holder experience. I feel supremely blessed that I was in a position to afford this luxury. Sitting alongside my son, watching him cheer on his favorite team while Mister Softee dripped down his face and hands, was well worth the STH experience.
Deciding to commit to multiple baseball games in advance is subjective, influenced by many factors out of the customer’s control. YMMV.
Money: How Much Are Season Tickets?
I chose the Sunday package, granting me two tickets to 20 games. The seats were located on the Excelsior Level (300s) and averaged $57 a ticket. The perks included:
–Mike Piazza 31 Club Access: This ended up being the benefit I appreciated the most. The club access provided shelter, climate-control, shorter lines, and cleaner bathrooms–all of which were appreciated.
-10% Bonus for Food/Beverage and Parking ($226.10 worth of credit): Free money for being a first-time season ticket holder, no complaints. OK, maybe one complaint. The MLB app that must be used to redeem your credit kind of sucks. More on that in a bit.
-Guaranteed face value on playoff tickets (half strip): This “perk” is a bit misleading; we’ll get to that, too.
-Cover from the sun: This was a personal must-have since my kiddo and other people I go to games with often complain about the sun. While having the protection of cover is nice, I found the air to be a bit stagnate under the overhang. Also, I kept finding us surrounded by many out-of-town fans which was a bit of a buzzkill.
Many of you simply want to know, how much are Mets season tickets?
Total Investment: $2,261.00
The hefty expense was eased by the ability to make monthly payments. But like any initial investment, it’s easy to forget what you paid, creating more “waste” than you would normally accept.
When considering a season ticket plan, don’t forget that it will run you about $25 per game to park, plus the concessions and gift shops will add up, despite your best intention to bring your own food or avoid buying gear. However, these items are ultimately a fun part of the game, especially for kids, so just embrace the beast and factor in the expense before making the season ticket commitment.
The Mets, like most MLB teams this past season, were basically giving tickets away. Between constant coupon codes and promotional pricing, it quickly became apparent that it would have been cheaper to buy tickets to each game a la carte. Like 60% cheaper.
Granted, I understand a lot of this has to do with team performance, but even when the Mets were in their winning groove or battling for a Wild Card position, tickets were always available before a game for somewhere between 25% and 80% less than what I had paid. Sure, there’s the risk of being locked out. And yes, you need to put in some additional legwork to secure tickets. But the savings would have been significant if I went that route for the 2021 season.
Time: Season Tickets Are a Commitment
Twenty games over a 162-game season doesn’t sound like much, but if you are not a total die-hard fan with easy access to your team’s stadium, partial season ticket plans can feel overwhelming to your personal calendar.
Games are long, and travel time can be significant. Despite living under 10 miles from Citi Field, there were times we barely made the first pitch. (It didn’t help that several of our games fell during the same time as the U.S. Open which shares parking facilities with the Mets. I know, I know…public transportation).
The biggest “time” factor that I did not anticipate was the dwindling amount of MLB day games. I purposely chose the Sunday package since the Saturday package lacked any day games. Day games seem to be on the verge of extinction here in New York; presumably, MLB cares more about TV ratings/dollars than young fans who relish sunny afternoons and need to be home early enough for bedtime. Unfortunately, a few of my Sunday afternoons were shifted to Sunday nights to accommodate ESPN airings. Use this as a cautionary tale that you are at the mercy of schedule makers, which can put you behind the 8-ball when buying tickets so far in advance.
“The Mets have shown me more ways to lose than I even knew existed.”Casey Stengel
The Mets look to lock you up in September for the coming season, meaning that you are filling up your calendar more than half a year in advance. But season tickets can be sold or exchanged, right?
Flexibility: Exchanging Season Tickets
Major League Baseball allows you to exchange season tickets you have purchased through an online portal, which frankly, is either purposely poorly designed to deter fans or is in desperate need of an upgrade.
When you exchange tickets, you may only do so for the same ticket class. For example, your Wednesday night tickets to see the Mets vs. Pirates (“Value” game) can’t be traded in for the Mets vs. Dodgers on a Saturday night (“Premium” game). Even if you wanted to trade them in for cheaper seats and use credit toward a different game category, that is not an option.
Another lesson I learned was that season tickets are a bit tricky if you are a family of three. I purchased a pair of tickets since it’s normally me and the Boy. But on occasions when I wanted to bring a “third wheel,” snagging the extra ticket next to us was always a difficult proposition. And since you are not allowed to leave single seats behind, even trading in two tickets to then re-purchase three was a pain in the ass. Also, the MLB Ballpark Tickets app needs some serious work.
The Perks of Being a Mets Season Ticket Holder
The benefits of being a season ticket holder were lost on me. Never once did I feel the “love” of being a ticket season holder– in or outside of the stadium. Even with most of the extras stripped away due to the pandemic, I never felt part of a community. This is an area that the Mets would be well-served to focus on. I’m not expecting the grossly underpaid and overworked food service employee to give a shit that I’m waiting 30 minutes for my $7 hotdog. But if the Mets put half as much effort into an engagement/retention strategy as they did closing the sale, they’d make their lives easier bringing back first-time season ticket holders such as yours truly.
Part of me understands why previous perks such as meet-and-greets and on-field experiences were spiked due to the pandemic, but it appears very little effort went into looking for alternative ways to surprise and delight fans.
Season Tickets Promise You Access to the Playoffs…With a Catch
“Access to playoff tickets” is often the ultimate benefit, the one that sways indecisive baseball fans to take the plunge. It’s also a potentially fleeting benefit, as we saw with the 2021 Mets. But there’s a catch to how playoff tickets work that was never made clear to me until the season started to wind down. You do get access to playoff tickets. However, the seat location (and price) are outside of your control. You are literally given a seat assignment. In my case, my season tickets were in the 300 section. But my playoff tickets were in the 100 section, making the expense outside of my reach. Plus, the seats were not overly desirable, presumably since I was a newbie with “only” a 20-game package. Oh, and the biggest catch of ’em all–you must buy a full playoff ticket “strip”–meaning tickets to all 12 home games. That is a serious commitment–meant only for die-hard fans.
But wait, there’s more!
In order to get the “discounted price” you must re-up your season ticket membership for the following season. So essentially, if you want “fairly” priced playoff tickets to all 12 home games, in a section chosen by someone else, you must commit to being a season ticket holder for two seasons. I was looking at over $6k for a pair of playoff tickets; approximately $4,800 if I renewed my plan for next season. While the Mets collapse made this a moot point, this was the issue that really got under my skin.
Also, be warned, season-ticket plans auto-renew for the same seats unless you take action.
Season Ticket Account Reps and Support
I came into the season ticket arrangement expecting very little in the way of personalized experience and that’s what I received. There’s a ton of attention paid to closing the sale, incessant text messages and emails. But once you’re in, you are forgotten. Early in the season, when the experience was new to me and COVID was still throwing a monkey wrench into scheduling, I found I’d have to make multiple advances in order to get a response. I have no idea how these account reps are paid and what their motivation is, so no blame on them. But their jobs do feel similar to car dealers who are just trying to move vehicles off the lot. No one needs the red carpet rolled out, but a little sense of care/community would go a long way. And did I mention the MLB Ballpark Tickets app needs a facelift?!
So Are Season Tickets Worth It
Despite focusing on some of the more negative aspects of the experience, I ultimately was glad that I tried it. My son and I spent many hours looking at the schedule, getting psyched for the games that were part of our package. It was similar to the joy you experience when planning a vacation, which is sometimes half the fun!
Being a season ticket holder also helped me fulfill a bucket-list wish that I didn’t even know I had. As a kid, I recall thinking how cool it was that people got to come to the game after game and experience the same seats again and again. I can now cross that off the list.
I will roll the dice and go into next season as a former season ticket holder. I plan to buy tickets to two or three must-attend games when they go on sale–but will play the rest of the season by ear. But never say never!
P.S. – As a partial season ticket holder for the New York Islanders at UBS Arena, I will double down on my suggestion that season tickets are not for “average” people…at least not when your team is not a true playoff contender.
The business of season tickets seems to follow an old sales model that will not be effective with the new generation of sports fans. Sales reps sell you hard. You feel their desperation a la Glengarry Glen Ross. They are relentless in their attack, and then as soon as they reel you in and get you to sign, they fall predictably silent. You will never hear from your season ticket rep again–at least not until it is time to renew. I shouldn’t be so naive–but the lack of community and appreciation for hard-working season ticket holders was a letdown.