I'm doing this now for just the first weekend series against Boston. If people think this is interesting and useful, I will try to do a similar post each weekend as a preview of the upcoming week. As I am focusing exclusively on attendance, ticket prices and availability, and promotions, I am thinking that this won't step on the toes of the other preview threads that are usually posted. All information is believed to be accurate as of late last night, although obviously I make no guarantees about the direction of ticket prices.
Friday April 1- Rangers vs. Red Sox 3:05 p.m. Not much I can say about this game that everyone here doesn't already know. Jeff Burroughs and Charlie Hough combine to perform first pitch duties, the AL Championship flag will be officially raised, and I assume there will be flyovers and someone special to sing the National Anthem, although I haven't yet heard who it will be. The giveaway is a magnetic schedule. The game is a complete sell out including extensive sales of standing room only tickets. The highest attendance for a regular season game last year was opening day's 50,299, although they drew in excess of 52,000 for some post season games. Three years ago they drew 51,548 for a Friday opening day against Boston. I would expect them to fit at least that many and maybe slightly over 52,000 into the stadium for opening day this year.
Although there was an article yesterday commenting on high ticket prices for opening day, there has actually been a substantial decline in the market in recent days. At this moment, the cheapest SROs on stubhub (not including upcharges) are $46.50 a piece, the cheapest pair of actual seats deep in the outfield in the upper deck are $60 a piece, .If you want lower infield or lower box and want to avoid the last few rows under the overhang in the 100s sections, the best you can do is $175. That's down about $100 a seat as compared to 10 days ago, but still way over box office prices. Some continued decline in prices is likely, but with only 1,655 tickets available on Stubhub, the market may get increasingly thin as the day goes along so it is probably time to purchase if you have been trying to out wait the market.
Saturday April 2- Rangers vs. Red Sox 7:05 p.m. Ring ceremony will highlight the "Opening night" festivities, There will be a calendar giveaway and Michael's Crafting is sponsoring free "make it and take it" projects, presumably aimed at a kids market. Single seats (reportedly less than 1,000) are available directly from the Rangers at a wide variety of price points ranging from (before service fees) $189 for a Cuervo Club seat, to $69 for a nice lower box seat, to $17 in Upper reserved. But if you want a pair together your only choice buying from the Rangers is SRO, or you could go to the secondary market. I would expect attendance of approximately 50,000 which would be higher than any regular season game last year other than opening day.
If you wanted a decent pair in lower infield or lower box on Stubhub you would have to pay something in the vicinity of $60 to $80 a seat which is about what the Rangers would be charging for premium game seats in those locations were they available at the box office. As recently as March 20, tickets in these same areas were going for nearly double that, between $125 to $150 a piece. With 4,431 tickets currently available, more than twice what is available for opening day (partially but not entirely explained by the necessity of entering bar codes to keep tickets listed this close to game time for opening day) I would expect at least some continued softening of prices between now and Saturday's game time.
Sunday April 3 Rangers vs. Red Sox 1:05 p.m.- Josh Hamilton t-shirts and $1 ice cream for the 13 and under crowd are Sunday's promotions. The last figure I saw for Sunday is 3,000 seats available.although it has apparently tightened up, as while excellent singles are available, presumably from seats that have recently been released, the only pair I could find offered by the Rangers was in the Cuervo Lounge at $189 a seat. Attendance is likely to be in the range of 48,000-49,000 and if that happens the Rangers home record for a three game regular season series of 148,894 (for a series against the Yankees in 2004) will probably fall.
Ticket availability on Stubhub is considerably less than for Saturday, just 2,378 seats remain listed. If you want a pair in lower infield or lower box you are going to be in the same $60 to $80 range as for Saturday, although corner box pairs can be had for $40, and lower reserved pairs around $30. This actually represents a lot less decline than has occurred for Saturday tickets as prices for these seats ten days ago were in the range of $95 to $115. Given an extra day for sales to occur, and fewer seats available, just a small amount of additional decline in prices before Sunday's first pitch is probably a reasonable expectation.
Of course the predicting is pretty easy for games likely to be sell outs or near sell outs. When the Rangers face the Mariners next week, in what is traditionally one of the slowest periods of the year for weeknight games, we'll get a pretty fast read on what the "new normal" is for this year.