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Dodgers cut prices on season tickets

October 24, 2011 |  2:37 pm

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In the wake of a season in which the Dodgers played to a half-empty stadium, the team announced Monday that the price of almost every season ticket would be reduced next season, some by as much as 60%.

The Dodgers will cut prices for mini-plans and single-game tickets as well, said David Siegel, senior director of ticket sales. Those prices will be announced at a later date, he said.

The Dodgers sold 2.9 million tickets last season, their smallest total in a non-strike year since 1992. The Dodgers ranked 11th in the major leagues in tickets sold last season, trailing among other teams the Milwaukee Brewers, the team that plays in the smallest market in the majors. 

The Dodgers had ranked among the top three in tickets sold every year since 2004, when Frank McCourt bought the team. They sold about 17,000 season tickets this season, down from about 27,000 four years ago.

Siegel declined to say how many tickets the Dodgers believed they could sell under the new pricing structure, or how that structure was determined.

"It's all about fan feedback," Siegel said. "There were a lot of factors taken into account."

In a September survey, the Dodgers asked fans uncertain about whether to renew tickets to say why, offering options that included "team performance," "pricing" and "ownership." For the first time since McCourt bought the team, the Dodgers failed to qualify for the playoffs in consecutive seasons.

Siegel declined to say what the fan survey indicated about ownership, with McCourt engaged in a court fight with baseball Commissioner Bud Selig for control of the team. In a court filing last week, Major League Baseball attorneys alleged that "Dodgers fans ... are not supporting the Dodgers because of Mr. McCourt's mismanagement and ongoing ownership."

Siegel did say, however, that the Dodgers hoped to address the concerns of fans wondering why they should pay full price for the full season when similar seats are widely available on Stub Hub and other secondary outlets, often for a fraction of face value.

In addition to the price cuts, Siegel said, the Dodgers are enhancing the value of season tickets by adding such perks as early access to the ballpark, the chance to play catch on the field after several day games and an on-field viewing party for the All-Star game.

"It's not only the pricing," Siegel said. "It's also the benefits."

The most drastic price cuts occurred in the seats closest to the foul poles. Field-level seats in the area once known as Mannywood were cut 60%, from $40 to $16. Loge seats in the corners were cut 40%, from $25 to $15.

Season seats on the reserved level and outside the bases will be sold for $6 per ticket -- the lowest such price in 24 years, according to the team. Season seats on the top deck will cost $5 per ticket.

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-- Bill Shaikin

 

Photo: Tony Gwynn Jr. of the Dodgers plays left field in front of a lot of empty seats at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 31, 2011. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times.

 

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