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Rant on Empty Seats At Target Field


What’s with all the empty seats at Target Field???   I get it A LITTLE: the Wild and Wolves were in the playoffs, the weather was lousy, kids are still in school, inflation is starting to limit discretionary spending,  some are still stricken with 2020-style COVID-fear, fear of crime downtown, Minnesotans were too busy fishing, farming ….    

BUT and this is a big huge BUT - The Twins are in First Place, they are playing exciting baseball with a team that looks like it can carry its current success through the season.  They signed the top free agent on the market, Carlos Correa.   Buxton bashing homers, great defense, solid pitching, depth at AAA except at catcher (maybe it’s time to make a minor league trade for La Tortuga) …

So I ask about another kind of BUTT.   There should be more of them in the seats.  The bandwagon has already left the station.   End of RANT!

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Ticket sales (season tickets especially) lag a year behind. So this is what we’re seeing after an 89 loss season in 2021. Beyond that, you mentioned very real and valid reasons why people aren’t attending entertainment events. Inflation being the most valid reason out of the bunch. We know it’s very expensive to take a family to a game, and people may not have the disposable income they once did to go to a game. 

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If the Twins have empty seats it is because the cost is too high. I checked on tickets for a mid-week game in the next series. The tickets for upper deck seats were advertised at $15 each but added over $12 in fees making the cost per ticket over $21 each. Ticket prices above $20 are no longer "cheap seats". If you want to go on a weekend the price is usually $5 per ticket higher. There are discounts and coupons but you have to put in some effort to find them and they're always dwarfed by the added fees.

MLB teams don't care about in-person attendance. Each new stadium that gets built has fewer seats than the one it replaced. Once they sell out the luxury boxes they've made their money.

It doesn't help the Twins that casual fans can go to a Saints game and get a better ballpark experience for less money.

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I've been to about 7 games this year, my family has a 40 game season ticket plan. We budget for tickets, parking, food etc. It adds up A LOT, but we plan on it, because my wife and I love going to games. HOWEVER, I rarely complain when its not busy at the games. shorter lines, easier parking, less jackasses. thats my silver lining. 

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It should improve as the season progresses, especially if they keep winning.  The weather has been abysmal for most of the home series so far, with nicer weather more people should come out.  

 

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I suppose people have a lot of different things to do with their time. Unless there is something of a ‘scene’ to be found at Target Field, presumably from buzz around a winning team, I expect this will be the norm.

The difficulties watching the team on TV means fewer of the players are household names now. This is a big deal too as it’s often rooting for particular players that is the draw.

And of course, many of the people here who discuss the team heavily don’t live in Minnesota. 

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11 minutes ago, Craig Arko said:

I suppose people have a lot of different things to do with their time. Unless there is something of a ‘scene’ to be found at Target Field, presumably from buzz around a winning team, I expect this will be the norm.

The difficulties watching the team on TV means fewer of the players are household names now. This is a big deal too as it’s often rooting for particular players that is the draw.

And of course, many of the people here who discuss the team heavily don’t live in Minnesota. 

I'm 3.5 hrs from the Twin Cities.  It would be nice to get to more games but it's too far.  Like you are saying, we are also in the boat of not having the Twins available on any streaming service we own.   Both of my kids never get to watch any games and have no reason to be interested in the Twins.  Taking them to games is 3 hours of boredom.   I'm not one of the people with too much disposable income, so any fun times had are with the kids along.  

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Concession prices are a joke.  I haven't been there since '19 but if my memory service me correctly a craft beer was about $12 or so that year.  Other concessions are super expensive as well.  Mpls isn't quite a must be destination these days either.  I used to have season tickets the 1st few years of Target Fields existence as well.  Just not the desire to put in the time etc. like I used to.  If I am out and about the radio is always tuned in during a Twins game!

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1 hour ago, DJL44 said:

If the Twins have empty seats it is because the cost is too high. I checked on tickets for a mid-week game in the next series. The tickets for upper deck seats were advertised at $15 each but added over $12 in fees making the cost per ticket over $21 each. Ticket prices above $20 are no longer "cheap seats". If you want to go on a weekend the price is usually $5 per ticket higher. There are discounts and coupons but you have to put in some effort to find them and they're always dwarfed by the added fees.

MLB teams don't care about in-person attendance. Each new stadium that gets built has fewer seats than the one it replaced. Once they sell out the luxury boxes they've made their money.

It doesn't help the Twins that casual fans can go to a Saints game and get a better ballpark experience for less money.

Those fees you only pay if you buy online.  If you go to walk up sale, which as poster pointed out there is plenty open, you will not pay the online fees.  You only have to worry about fees if team starts to sell out and you want to make sure you have a seat.  

I would disagree about MLB not caring about in person attendance as they stated during the 2020 no fans season that they were losing a ton of money because of no fans.  

Now in regards to the original post, I would disagree they are playing exciting baseball.  Going 0 for whatever they were with RISP during the home stand is not entertaining.  Yes, they had a winning homestand, but continuing hitting into double plays with no runs even in wins gets annoying to watch.  At least for me. I also live an hour away from downtown so any week game is normally out of question for me. 

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I understand that ticket prices have gone up, and obviously concessions are grossly overpriced, but I don't think that's a big part of the equation. Every other sport aside from maybe MLS charges more for tickets, and charges about the same for concessions. I don't see a lot of empty seats for the Wolves and Wild when they're doing well. I don't see any empty seats for the Vikings even when they suck. I think MLB has mismanaged the sport, particularly broadcasting it, to the point where there are not enough baseball fans to fill stadiums early in the season, even if the team is good. Maybe we get more turnout later in the year if the Twins build some momentum. Maybe the Twins do well but don't see a surge in attendance until next year.

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I have a 20 game ticket package this year so I'll say what I've experienced and echo a couple things here.

The weather in April sucked. Not going to expand on that.

Ticket prices are interesting. For example, I looked at Monday and Tuesday for the upcoming series next week against the Tigers and found many 300 level options for $10-$12 including fees. On the flip side of that, the game Saturday night was not part of my ticket package. A friend and I were very interested in going to the game. However, by the afternoon I could not find any ticket whatsoever below $35. I know Monday/Tuesday night games are not the same as Saturday night, but for reference the stated attendance for Saturday night was 22,939 (Target Field seating capacity is 39,504).

As also mentioned, concessions are a joke. It's out of hand how expensive they are. A cheeseburger and fries basket is $15. A chicken tender basket is also $13-$15. On Sunday at the game I went to the Soul Bowl stand and got one of those. That was $15 and unfortunately was not the quality I was expecting. Beers are all generally around $12-$13 I think. I got one of those big Truly cans on Sunday and it was $17/$18. Luckily, I have figured out how to use Twins Pay for my season ticket holder discount, but still. Concession prices are way too high

Attendance numbers don't quite match this statement but I will say Target Field has numerous areas to stand and watch the game other than your seat. People are definitely taking advantage of that too.

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1 hour ago, Trov said:

Those fees you only pay if you buy online.  If you go to walk up sale, which as poster pointed out there is plenty open, you will not pay the online fees.  You only have to worry about fees if team starts to sell out and you want to make sure you have a seat.  

If I want to buy discounted tickets I believe the only way to do that is online. I don't think I can enter a coupon code at walk-up. Of course the walk-up is probably still cheaper than buying online after the fees that are higher than the original discount. I agree that walk-up ticket sales for single game seats is the way to go. I might even find someone outside who offers me a discount on the tickets they're "unable to use".

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1 hour ago, Unwinder said:

there are not enough baseball fans to fill stadiums early in the season, even if the team is good

With playoff expansion I would not be surprised to see MLB drop to a 150 or even 144 game schedule in the future.

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I would disagree about MLB not caring about in person attendance as they stated during the 2020 no fans season that they were losing a ton of money because of no fans.  

Once they sell the expensive seats they don't care anymore. They know they have to keep the price of the "cheap seats" high in order to justify the prices of the expensive seats. They don't care about selling out the stadium as long as they're selling out the luxury boxes.

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55 minutes ago, Tibs said:

I have a 20 game ticket package this year so I'll say what I've experienced and echo a couple things here.

Ticket prices are interesting. For example, I looked at Monday and Tuesday for the upcoming series next week against the Tigers and found many 300 level options for $10-$12 including fees.

That's interesting. I don't have season tickets and those same tickets show as $12-$15 before fees for me. Were you logged into your season ticket holder account?

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3 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

Ticket sales (season tickets especially) lag a year behind. So this is what we’re seeing after an 89 loss season in 2021. Beyond that, you mentioned very real and valid reasons why people aren’t attending entertainment events. Inflation being the most valid reason out of the bunch. We know it’s very expensive to take a family to a game, and people may not have the disposable income they once did to go to a game. 

Except you can walk up to Target field and buy a ticket for 18 bucks. That's a steal compared to doing anything in the entertainment business. Heck, even a one day state park vehicle pass is what, 15 bucks now?

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Twins are never well attended before school is out. The casual fans don't go to games except during the summer, regardless of how good the team was previous year. 

I think part of it is due to not being able to watch the games on TV as well. MLB blackouts and Bally sports have killed some viewership interest. 

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3 hours ago, DJL44 said:

I think cord cutting is going to continue to hurt attendance going forward. If you're used to watching the Twins every night then you are more likely to attend in person. Once I dumped cable and switched to the radio I noticed that I'm less interested in attending in person.

Agreed. MLB's gross mismanagement of it's broadcast contracts is a whole subject unto itself. The owners only care about those near term dollars and it's gonna bite them in the ass long-term. I just lost MLB Network on my cable provider. I figured that's ok, I can just stream it on MLB.TV, which I pay for. But wait! When you watch MLB Network through the app, it can only be done on a mobile device, not on a TV streaming device. Does any of this make any sense? I grew up with baseball. To an extent I'm willing to go the extra mile to find the MLB content I want, but what about the younger people or casual fans?  Half of them can't even watch the games because of regional blackouts and local carrier disputes. Why should they care anymore?

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I think the simple answer is that yes the price is too high. Obviously would be way more for me in total cost due to having to fly to Minneapolis, but more just the cost of admission in general.

Also, most people would rather just watch it at home(If they can). Its a bit of a shame overall as for me there is nothing like relaxing back with a beer in the stands and watch a good game of baseball.

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22 minutes ago, dex8425 said:

Except you can walk up to Target field and buy a ticket for 18 bucks. That's a steal compared to doing anything in the entertainment business. Heck, even a one day state park vehicle pass is what, 15 bucks now?

I'm with you in spirit, but to be fair, you can bring in a whole carful of people with one vehicle pass. You need a big trenchcoat to do anything like that at a Twins game.

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1 hour ago, dex8425 said:

Except you can walk up to Target field and buy a ticket for 18 bucks. That's a steal compared to doing anything in the entertainment business. Heck, even a one day state park vehicle pass is what, 15 bucks now?

And the ticket will have only cost $3-4 more than your parking spot.

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3 hours ago, nicksaviking said:

I honestly think the difficulty in watching the games on TV is inevitably going to hurt attendance. Blackout rules and making people jump through hoops to watch games on TV don't encourage people to GO to the game, they make people FORGET about the game all together. 

In fairness, the Timberwolves and Wild are also difficult to watch for cord cutters since they’re also on Bally Sports North. If people forget about the game all together it’s because of the product itself, not access to it. 

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