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Megdal For GM: Mets.com: Better Seats? Lower Prices?

If you’ve been watching Mets games regularly lately, you’ve been bombarded by a commercial that urges you to buy Mets tickets “directly from the source”, touting “better seats” and “lower prices”. It certainly seems fair to infer from this new campaign that many fans are skipping the Mets entirely and simply buying tickets from the resale market.

While some may say that is exactly what the Mets and other MLB teams deserve for turning Stubhub.com from competitor into licensed scalper, that obscures the larger problem here: the only reason Mets fans choose Stubhub over Mets.com is the ability to choose where to sit!

Ask a baseball fan about attending a baseball game, and the answer will usually include a place in the ballpark he or she likes to sit. For me, that is between home plate and first base. Others prefer between home and third, or a specific section, or out in the outfield, etc.

Now, go to Mets.com and try to get tickets to a particular game in that area. No luck, right? Because on Mets.com, your only choice is to pick a price level.

Nobody says, “I enjoy watching a baseball game from $64 seats.”

So instead of the opportunity to pick your section, your exact row (and if you think that isn’t important, you’ve never been to a game with a pregnant woman in row 15 of the Promenade), even if you want an aisle seat.

At Mets.com, you get an arbitrarily-chosen “best available seat” for a particular price range. And if that range is taken, the program automatically takes you to the “best available seats” in the entire ballpark, which usually means seats that cost well over $100 per ticket. Thanks, Mets.com!

So why does Stubhub.com have this technology, and Mets.com doesn’t?

Incidentally, if you think this is somehow unique to Stubhub… it isn’t.

If you go over to Phillies.com and buy tickets, you can click on any section in the stadium. If tickets are available there, you can purchase them. If not, tickets are provided that are closest to them.

And businesses far less profitable than the New York Mets offer this convenience as well. When I purchased tickets for an upcoming Boston Symphony Orchestra concert at Tanglewood, I was able to select the exact seat location I wanted. The same this was true at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, a summer stock company.

Why is it that the Mets can’t compete with the ticket convenience of its own ticket broker? Or a division rival? Or summer stock?

When I am elected the next General Manager of the Mets, a complete overhaul of the way fans are able to buy tickets will take place immediately. This is best for the fans, who can buy tickets without a markup, and best for the Mets, who will sell many more of their own tickets.

And to be sure, when someone suggests taking up valuable advertising time during Mets games trying to convince fans not to pay a premium no one wants to pay for tickets, I’ll make a simple suggestion:

Let’s make buying tickets a less frustrating experience for fans. LOGIC means that it is time for the 2010 Mets to sell tickets using 2010 technology.