March 7, 2010 4:00 PM ET
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"Do I get a refund on my shady seat fee for night games?"
It’s no secret that some seats at football stadiums are better than other seats at football stadiums within the same price range. Apparently, the Miami Dolphins just realized this. And now they are cashing in on it.
The Dolphins overhauled their pricing structure for next season and are raising ticket prices for 56 percent of seats, the first time the Dolphins increased ticket prices in three years. As part of the restructuring, fans sitting on the shady side of Sun Life Stadium will pay about $5 more a ticket.
The thought being paying an extra five bones for the shade is a much better deal than the $20 you're going to pay for aloe, aspirin and ice cream after you come home from a mid-September-in-Southern-Florida game burnt to a crisp. And we get that. We’ve been to Dolphin Stadium Sun Life Stadium in the fall and on some days, no amount of SPF will do the trick.
The Dolphins aren't alone in this logic. The Jacksonville Jaguars do something similar, charging an extra $8 to $10 bucks to sit on the shady home side of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The issue get more complicated, though, once you start digging into the logic of it all. Not everyone has Florida’s sun and shade issues, but in every stadium there are some seats in the same price range that are preferable to others.
In sticking with weather-related price increases, it seems obvious that stadiums like Gillette in New England, Lambeau in Green Bay and Ralph Wilson in Buffalo, should charge more for seats under overhangs. At least on snowy days. Better yet, for every game in November-January. Because there’s always the chance of snow in those cities in those months.
League wide, seats that allow you to get to the bathroom and back during a timeout are definitely worth $7 more, right? And seats that allow you to go to the bathroom AND grab a some refreshments, all without missing any action, are certainly worth at least a $13 bump in price. As long as it’s not the way the Redskins were doing it back in October.
But if we're going to travel down this road, it's only fair that it works both ways. Discounts should be applied to seats near people who spend the entire game holding up foam fingers and obnoxiously large signs (we’re thinking $6 off) and to seats near people who take off their shirts (we’re thinking $12.50 here, $17 if it’s really cold and their skin is turning all kinds of weird colors). There should be an additional $20 off for seats near people who stand up and take pictures of themselves while the game is going on, and $22 for people who call their friends watching at home, then stand up and wave so they can be seen on TV.
Seats near people who sneak in their own delicious food and drinks and are nice enough to share with you should be worth and extra $8-$12, depending on the deliciousness of said food. But seats in that section (you know the one) that only seems to attract the vendors selling cotton candy, ICEEs and popcorn should be $4 off. When you hit the football stadium, you don't want to feel like you've taken a wrong turn into a circus. Where’s the hot dog guy?
Ultimately, we're concerned that this new pricing structure is going to open up a Pandora's Box for football games. Not every seat is created equal. After all, one fan's shade is another fan's rain cloud.