Earlier in the week the Atlanta Braves announced that the first exhibition game at SunTrust Park is only being offered to full season ticket holders.
In a curious move, the Atlanta Braves have made public that the unveiling of their brand spanking new tax-payer funded SunTrust Park, will be available to the select few thousand fans who have shelled out big bucks for season tickets. A tough sell indeed for a team who is flirting with 100 losses this year.
The game will be played on March 31, 2017 against the New York Yankees and seems to be a feeble attempt to spur on ticket sales at the new stadium. The cheapest full season ticket plan for all 81 games is $747. It’s tough to imagine many fans will be excited to plunk down $747 for the opportunity to get an early glimpse of the park for a meaningless spring training game. For the record, the most expensive season ticket plan is $41,500, for seats right behind home plate in the SunTrust Club.
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Derek Schiller, the Braves’ president of business, released a statement saying, “Our new ballpark will be among the best in Major League Baseball, and this game will give our A-List members the opportunity to get a first glimpse at SunTrust Park. It will give them the chance to find their way to the ballpark, find their way around the ballpark, try out our new concessions and experience first-hand all of the state-of-the-art amenities.”
While the Braves have not announced their season ticket sales numbers as of yet, though it seems all but assured the first game at SunTrust Park will be played in front of several thousand empty seats. Perhaps the team will change its tune once they begin selling partial season and individual tickets. However, it does seem to be a point of no return, because fans who actually take the bait to buy full season tickets now would certainly be outraged to be joined in the park by their… ahem… low brow non “A-List” fans.
The Atlanta Braves front office has made great strides in building a long-term competitive team on the field. This decision to make a spring training game in March an exclusive event certainly leaves more questions than answers. This all sounds rather naive and elitist if you ask me.