By Jordan Korbritz
In what might be the most offensive sales campaign of all time – or perhaps it’s merely the most original sports marketing ploy we’ve ever heard of – the Florida Marlins are selling tickets to Roy Halladay’s perfect game.
The game between the Marlins and the Phillies was played on Saturday, May 29 at Sun Life Stadium, the Dolphins’ stadium where the Marlins play their home games. Halladay and the Phillies won the game, 1-0. The announced attendance for the game was 25,086, which included no shows. Baseball capacity for the stadium is 37,000, although the official capacity for football is listed at 75,000.
The Marlins are selling tickets at regular prices (from $12 to $300) up to the football capacity, meaning tickets – including some which weren’t on sale the night of the event – are being sold at face value for a game that’s already been played, a game the home team lost. No one could make this up.
To make matters worse, all tickets sold after the fact will be added to the Marlins’ official paid attendance for the game. To be sure, the Marlins could use the boost. Historically one of the worst draws in baseball, the Marlins are dead last in the National League in attendance with an average of 16,267 per game through June 5, ahead of only Cleveland in all of MLB.
In fairness to the Marlins, they aren’t the first baseball team to sell tickets after the fact that commemorated a significant event. The White Sox sold unused tickets to the game in which Mark Buehrle pitched a no-hitter last year. But in that instance, Buehrle was one of their own, pitching in his home park, in a game won by the hometown team. The Marlins are benefitting financially from their own ineptitude, on and off the field. Of course, such action is consistent with their history.
The Marlins are MLB’s biggest beneficiary of revenue sharing. Earlier this year, MLB and the players’ union saw fit to admonish the team for failing to reinvest their revenue sharing funds in team payroll. Shortly after a press release criticizing the team was issued, the Marlins did an about face and signed pitcher Josh Johnson to a four-year, $39 million contract.
This isn’t the first time that a team has actively engaged in the memorabilia business. It happens all the time, with clubs auctioning off such things as used uniforms, broken bats, old stadium seats, and, in the case of the Yankees, infield dirt from the old Yankee Stadium. It can be argued that one thing all those items have in common with tickets to Halladay’s perfect game is their historical significance.
But even though there have been only 20 perfect games pitched in MLB history (twenty-one if you count Armando Galarraga’s non-perfect perfect game), the fact remains that the Marlins were on the losing end of Halladay’s feat and are now profiting from their incompetence. Selling the tickets to raise money for charity would be one thing, but pocketing the proceeds is quite another. Such action is distasteful, at best, and galling at worst.
Of course, the Marlins wouldn’t be able to sell those tickets if there weren’t buyers ready, willing and able to purchase them. Marlins President David Samson told the Associated Press that 3,000 tickets were sold in the first four hours they were available.
At one time, tickets or ticket stubs were viewed as a souvenir, a memento to an event that one attended, a keepsake for the ages. The online marketplace has changed all that. Today, tickets and ticket stubs, like virtually any commodity, can be purchased at a variety of sites on the web, bought, sold, and resold to the highest bidder. But just because that’s reality, it doesn’t excuse the Marlins for participating in – and in effect initiating – the madness.
In comments to the AP, Samson tried to justify the team’s actions. “…it’s not as if there is any consumer fraud that is going on,” he said. “…we are a team with a low revenue…trying to raise revenue…”
In these financially troubling and challenging times, creativity and initiative should be appreciated and rewarded. But making a buck by any means isn’t acceptable. The Marlins have crossed the line on this one.
... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.