- Tony Jackson, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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In what a Los Angeles Dodgers official said was primarily a response to fan feedback in the wake of the team's worst home attendance in a non-strike year since 1992, the club announced on Monday that it is slashing prices on all season tickets for 2012. Additionally, those holding season tickets will be given a handful of perks beginning next year, including admission to Dodger Stadium three hours before game time -- one hour earlier than those holding single-game tickets.
Season tickets are now priced as low as $5 a game for the Top Deck (except the front row, which is $8 a game) and top out at $80 per game for Field Box VIP seats. There are four additional seating areas in the ballpark for which season tickets can be purchased for less than $10 a game, three of them on the reserved level and one in the left-field pavilion.
Season ticket savings versus buying advance purchase single-game tickets range from 20 percent for the All You Can Eat (right-field) pavilion ($24 versus $30) to 64 percent for Preferred Loge Box Value seats and Infield Reserve Value seats (both of which are $10 versus $28 for single game).
"I think there were a lot of factors involved in deciding what season-ticket prices would be, but at the forefront was really feedback from our fans," said Dave Siegel, the Dodgers senior director of ticket sales. "(That) actually drove the process. From the very start, we wanted to put something out there that was undeniably positive for our fans."
The Dodgers drew 2,935,139 in home attendance in 2011, which was sixth in the National League and 11th in the majors but still marked the first time they failed to draw at least 3 million since 1992, when they posted their worst record (63-99) since moving to Los Angeles in 1958. This year's club started slowly and finished well out of the hunt for a playoff spot, but played well down the stretch and finished with a respectable 82-79 mark.
Siegel declined to specify whether fan feedback suggested that the decline in attendance was due to the team's play on the field, the economy or a widespread backlash against unpopular owner Frank McCourt and the club's on-going bankruptcy.
"Again, it was definitely a combination of a lot of things," he said. "But the thing that really resonated with us is that our fans didn't see the value in their season tickets like they used to. Our response to that was not only to increase the value with (lower) pricing but also to increase the benefits. At the end of the day, we want people to be proud to have Dodgers season tickets."
Siegel couldn't recall the last time, if ever, the Dodgers had lowered prices for all season ticket packages, although he did point out that some season ticket prices were lower in 2011 than in 2010, while others were higher and still others stayed the same.
As an additional enticement for potential season ticket buyers, the Dodgers will allow season ticket holders to play catch on the field with family and friends after select games. Siegel said it hasn't been determined which or how many games that will include.
"In all likelihood, it would be one or two days a month," he said. "It probably would be something like the last day game of every homestand, so our (grounds) crew has enough time to get the field ready for the next homestand. But again, those details haven't been worked out."
Season ticket holders also will be granted access to all levels of the ballpark, and MVP- and VIP-level season ticket holders will receive complimentary Stadium Club memberships that are good for the entire season.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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