ticket sales

Reserving Ravens tickets early, for a price

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

Want a guaranteed seat to watch the Ravens take on the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints or division rival Pittsburgh Steelers this season at M&T Bank Stadium?

You can grab one today — as long as you’re willing to pay extra.

The Baltimore Ravens have agreed to a one-year sponsorship deal with OptionIt, a ticket broker that sells the rights (or options) to buy face value, single-game tickets. The cost of an option to reserve tickets for Ravens home games on OptionIt’s Web site ranged Friday from $17 per seat for Tampa Bay Buccaneers tickets to $68 per seat for Steelers tickets.

The company’s promoters say what used to be the luxury of Baltimore Ravens season ticket holders — or those fast enough to snatch up the 6,000 face value tickets the Ravens sell before the season — is now available to anyone.

For the Orioles, selling hope is the key

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

With the chill of a particularly brutal winter finally replaced by warm sun and blue skies, it’s almost natural for most baseball fans to greet the start of baseball season with at least a glimmer of optimism and good spirits.

On the other hand, if you’re an Orioles fan who has endured a dozen straight losing seasons, that cupboard is pretty bare.

But there seems to be a buzz this spring in Baltimore that hasn’t been heard in years, and it’s not about wins and losses. It’s about the team and its future.

While many say it’ll still take time for the chatter to translate into bodies in the seats at Camden Yards, an average of 1,000 more fans per game are showing up at spring training games this year, an excitement that’s also fueled by the team’s new location in Sarasota. And some say the team, which opens its season on the road Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, and its fans are heading to better days.

It’s not that the Orioles are selling hope and optimism inspired by a fresh start and everybody’s just happy to buy it — they’re selling a plan for the franchise that at least some Baltimoreans say they can believe in.

Crystal Palace is looking to baseball model

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

New Crystal Palace GM Keith LuptonWith a new league and — they hope — soon a new stadium, Baltimore’s minor league soccer team wants to model its business after minor league baseball in its goal to fill seats and become a regional destination and entertainment center for soccer fans.

To get there, Crystal Palace Baltimore is looking to new General Manager Keith Lupton to guide the team to the next level off the field. Lupton spent 28 years in the minor league baseball business and helped start and manage Baltimore Orioles affiliates in Frederick, Hagerstown, Bowie and Salisbury.

“I’m probably the least knowledgeable about soccer than everyone in this room, but that’s not my job,” he said at a Wednesday news conference at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore. “My job is to get a new stadium up and fill the seats through season tickets, advertising, media and entertainment.”

O’s returning FanFest to January

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

The Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium is dark, pitchers and catchers report in 29 days and Baltimore Orioles’ baseball season unofficially kicks off this weekend with the first wintertime FanFest in four years.

Saturday marks the event’s return to the Baltimore Convention Center, its home until 2007. That year, FanFest was moved to Oriole Park at Camden Yards and held just before Opening Day due to a conflict with a Ravens home playoff game.

Sports marketers say the move back to January is a better one for the team because FanFest will coincide with the launch of single-game ticket sales and gets fans into baseball season early.

Despite recent dip, Ravens PSLs have been a good investment

September 10, 2009 8:22 PM
The Ravens have sold out every regular season game in Baltimore — this season included — since the franchise arrived from Cleveland in 1996.Between October 2007 and October 2008, the stock market lost more than 37 percent of its value. Investment funds were crushed and stock portfolios were shadows of their former selves.

Also in October 2008, a pair of Permanent Seat Licenses in a lower-level end zone section at M&T Bank Stadium sold for $3,550 each — about 8 percent more than the price for comparable seats sold the previous year.

“We don’t have a dollar invested in the stock market,” said Pat Smart, a contractor who has been buying and selling seat licenses for the last five years with his wife. “In a good year at any time we’ll have close to $150,000 invested in PSLs. We might have broken even a few years but we have never lost a dollar.”

Over the last year, however, the recession has taken its toll on the open market for permanent seat licenses at M&T Bank Stadium: The average price for a Baltimore Ravens PSL fell from $4,200 in 2008 to $3,400 this season, according to a Forbes team valuation.

Preakness ticket sales down 12%

Daily Record Business Writer
April 23, 2009 5:31 PM

With just over three weeks to go, ticket sales for the Preakness Stakes — Maryland racing’s biggest moneymaker — are down 12 percent, according to the Maryland Jockey Club.

While some blame the economy, others say the new policy banning outside alcohol and other beverages from the infield may be playing a part, despite the fact that the ticket price has not increased for the May 16 race.

“I think it’ll be fine, but they might suffer from that a little bit,” said Lee Corrigan, of Elkridge-based Corrigan Sports Enterprises, who is organizing the InfieldFEST event. “It’s a tough year and financial market to be doing what they’re doing, but I think they had to for many reasons.”

Orioles' opening day - Vendors not selling optimism

Daily Record Business Writer
April 6, 2009 8:01 PM

The weather may have cleared for the Orioles home opener against the Yankees on Monday but the business forecast was still gloomy from vendors who rely on the ballpark for sales.

Vendor Jay Smith, of Philadelphia, said he usually sells ‘a couple hundred’ soft pretzels at an event, ‘but Orioles [games] are usually below average for me.’“I’ll normally sell a couple hundred [pretzels] at an event, but Orioles [games] are usually below average for me,” said Jay Smith, a Philadelphia-based pretzel vendor who has been in the business for nearly a half century.

“The only games that are good are the ones against the Yankees and Red Sox,” he said. “Otherwise it’s practically a wash for me to come down here and do this.”

The sentiment was echoed up and down Howard and Conway streets outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards Monday afternoon as vendors hawked food, t-shirts and souvenirs to fans making their way to the ballpark.

“The Yankees and Boston — they’re the ones that keep us in business,” said Lauren Edgar, who works at one of Stadium Caps’ two stands on Howard Street.

Ravens to raise ticket prices by $5 to $15

Daily Record Business Writer
February 6, 2009 4:12 PM

Despite the recession, the Ravens will raise ticket prices by $5 to $15 per game next year.

A letter was sent to season-ticket holders Thursday to notify them of the changes, according to Kevin Byrne, senior vice president of community and public relations. The Ravens’ policy is to raise prices every two years, although Byrne said consumers’ tight budgets were considered when making the decision this year.

“It’s never done willy-nilly; it’s done with a lot of thought, and you work from a budget and the need for it,” he said Friday. “It’s almost directly related to player costs and the cost of doing business. But in this economy, the decision [to raise prices] was a little slower.”

Some seats in the upper deck will be raised by $5 while other upper-deck seats and most in the lower bowl of the stadium will increase by $10. Club seats and lower-level midfield seats — locations in the highest demand — will increase by $15 per game, said Byrne.