The Mets may be in decline but their ticket prices aren’t

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Citi Field. (Photo via Paul Hadsall's flickr stream.)
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The Mets are coming off a 74-88 season, their sixth straight without a playoff appearance and third straight in which their record was worse than the previous year's. The team cut more than $50 million from the 2011 payroll for 2012, and announced that they will be keeping payroll static for 2013.

Attendance dropped from 3.16 million in 2009 to 2.56 million in 2010, 2.35 million in 2011 and 2.24 million in 2012. This happened despite steep cuts in ticket prices in each season, along with extensive deals and giveaways just to sell out 2012's Opening Day and keep the 2012 fan drain to a minimum.

So in 2013, the Mets are trying something different: ticket prices are going up.

The released prices for 2013 season tickets are out, and no seats will be available for less money than in 2012. However, the prices of a significant number of tickets will go up more than seven percent, from the least expensive seat in Citi Field, Promenade Reserved, to a large number of the field level seats.

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The Mets declined to provide any 2012 ticket pricing, despite repeated requests. But their prices are still available online, and an apples-to-apples comparison is possible.

The following sections will increase in price-per-seat: Field Silver ($6,386 to $6,577), Baseline Gold ($6,433 to $6,581), Baseline Silver ($3,629 to $3,713), Left Field Gold ($4,164 to $4,460), Right Field Gold ($4,164 to $4,285), Left Field/Right Field Reserved ($2,341 to $2,425), Caesars Gold ($5,767 to $5,931), Caesars Box ($3,356 to $3,423), Pepsi Porch ($2,200 to $2,342), Promenade Gold ($2,808 to $2915), Promenade Box and Promenade Infield ($1,776 to $1,833) and Promenade Reserved ($1,389 to $1,491).

All other sections will remain the same price, with those sections primarily the most expensive seats in the stadium. For some perspective, the nine highest price points for season tickets will remain the same. And the bottom eleven price points for season tickets are going up.

Those fans who renew their 2012 tickets will see no increase in price.

Absent an increase in payroll for new players or decrease in prices to entice bargain shoppers, the Mets appear to be relying on the promise of a chance to buy All-Star Game tickets as a spur to new attendance.

They could be on to something there, although the precedent is mixed, in terms of how significant that something will be.

The Kansas City Royals, who hosted the 2012 All-Star Game, saw attendance rise just 15,409 for the season over 2011, or a difference of 190 per game. The Arizona Diamondbacks not only hosted the 2011 All-Star Game, they did so while the team improved from 65 wins to 94. Their attendance went up just 48,735 from 2010 to 2011, or roughly 600 per game. And the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who hosted the 2010 All-Star Game, saw attendance inch up a total of 10,428 fans all season over 2009, or roughly 129 fans per game.