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Dave St. Peter Interview

Posted by John Miller , 19 April 2019 · 1,583 views

Dave St. Peter Interview

It has been nine years since the Minnesota Twins have won the American League Central division, only making one playoff appearance in that time. The team has changed from top to bottom over the last few years. Familiar faces like Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer are long gone. Mauer was always a draw for people to go to games, what do the Twins do now to put fans butts in the seats of Target Field? Make the fan experience the best that it can be.

When Target Field opened in 2010 fans were excited, people were clamoring for season tickets and the team was a playoff contender. That year attendance reached 3,223,640 people. For nine straight years, attendance has gone down in all but one. The attendance for the 2018 season was 1,959,197. Almost a 1.3-million-person drop-off. “We’ve missed the mark on expectations. That’s a tough place to be when expectations are high and you underdeliver and if you do that routinely over time, it takes its toll,” said Twins President Dave St. Peter.

The Twins have relied heavily on the attractions and restaurants in the new ballpark to keep drawing in fans, but the organization knows that fans want to see a better product on the field. “I could make a pretty good case that as poorly as we have played over the first decade in the ballpark we have had more fans in the ballpark most nights than we probably deserve and that speaks to the Target Field experience,” said St. Peter. “You can have a great game day experience, but you also need to have a competitive baseball team.”

One way the organization is trying to get fans back in the seats is the implementation of two concession stands located in sections 133 and 237 that are money friendly. There, you can now get a hot dog for $4 and a 12 oz. beer for $5. “So far, it’s been pretty good, well received, lines haven’t been too bad. We need to do a better job of promoting it,” said St. Peter. “You should not have to spend $6 on a hot dog. To me, that’s crazy.” After this year it’s still undecided if they will expand this plan to other concessions stands or cancel it altogether. The Twins know that there are fans out there who want the premium experience right behind home plate and around the dugout, but they are aware that they need to make the game more accessible to all fans to draw in their goal of 2.5-3 million fans per year.

St. Peter knows that concessions are expensive. The price of beer has risen to $10.50. Double the price of a standard six-pack of beer. When asked about the increased price of beer St. Peter rebutted, “Bud Light isn’t regular beer?” Bud Light is the beer sold at the two cheaper concession stands. “I will tell you I don’t believe the concessions model inside of sports is sustainable.” However, St. Peter says he knows that most fans will pay up for an expensive beer. “Thank god this year I have a $5 beer to sell you.” If fans want a cheaper beer it sounds like they’ll have to be satisfied with Bud Light.

Another way the Twins are trying to draw in fans is with the Twins Pass. The pass is made up of three different packages, for $49 per month fans can go to every game and be in standing room only, for $99 they get an upper level seat and for $149 they get a lower level seat. Every game a fan sits in a different seat. “I think there’s a new generation of fans that aren’t looking for a fixed seat," said St. Peter. “Sales of that have been, I would say have been just okay. This month will be telling.” The Twins wrap up their April schedule against the Houston Astros, the 2017 World Series Champions. That could bring in quite a few fans.

The Twins feel this will draw in the 25-year-old to 35-year-old demographic. They’re trying their best to engage that age range according to St. Peter. “It’s critical to get that group engaged any way we can get them engaged. Whether it be via social channels, whether it be inside of the ballpark, whether it be attending a community event or some experiential marketing event. Their level engagement is critical.” Studies have shown that people in that range spend the most money.

Even with all the different things the Twins are trying to do to lure fans into the stadium, attendance is not off to a good start. On April 15, the Twins had only 11,727 fans in attendance, the lowest in Target Field history. That’s 3,000 less than the previous record set the day prior. With all the changes to the team, they’ll will have to get back to the winning ways of the mid-2000’s to get fans in the seats.

“We still have more work to do. We have to regain a level credibility in this marketplace around our baseball operation,” Said St. Peter.

  • nclahammer likes this

Apr 19 2019 11:09 AM

“You should not have to spend $6 on a hot dog. To me, that’s crazy.”


Wait a minute .... Then don't sell them for that much - anywhere in the ballpark.

Apr 19 2019 03:56 PM
jeeze i work at Chase Field and we get $7 for every D-backs dog and $13 for a domestic bomber....I Wanna come Home!!
A very honest interview. Surprisingly honest. I think we can all agree concessions are just ridiculous at ballparks, even though we sort of accept it and deal with it. Beer prices here in Omaha at a AAA Stormchasers are around $7. Personally, I think slightly lower pricing, anywhere, would balance out with more purchases vs simply charging more.

But to me, the biggest point is a better product on the field. I think we all know that. It also seems valid that when a team performs well and is in the hunt, it's the next season where attendance really bumps. Almost a delayed reaction and anticipation you may be missing out on something.

With how they've been playing so far this year, I expect that the attendance will pick up once the weather gets better. It is disappointing seeing no one attending the games when were above .500 on the season 

Apr 20 2019 06:00 AM
The Twin Cities is a front runner's market - always has been and seemingly always will be. Only the Vikings have achieved long running attendance success without a championship (we all know the Vikings will never win the Super Bowl). One point not really touched on is the younger generations do not want to sit in a ballpark for 3 hours and wait for the action. They have had a screen in their hands since birth with instant entertainment as whatever they want. I cannot get my son to go to a game without bribes and promises of mounds of concession food, which I will not do. The promise of spending time together and enjoying some sun is not appealing to him. When I went to the Dome when I was his age I was enthralled with the action and excitement of the experience. I wonder what attendance and the ballpark experience will be in 20-30 years. I can see a day with few to no fans at the park and everyone watching the games as background filler on a mobile device.