We end 2017 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Ballpark Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #9: Major League Baseball teams introduce new ballpark pass ticketing options.
Around Major League Baseball, one of the most unique trends to emerge in 2017 was the ballpark pass ticketing option. Reflecting both an evolving trend in the game-day experience and developments in technology, ballpark passes were made available by numerous teams in 2017, and could become more widespread down the road.
While there were variances among the offers from individual teams, ballpark passes tended to stick to a common set of ideas. For a monthly fee, fans could access all or nearly every game, with the pass available via the MLB Ballpark App. In some cases, fans would be assigned a particular seat, but many passes emphasized the use of social spaces and standing room only areas throughout the ballpark.
Shortly before the season began, we provided a rundown on the teams that were offering pass options. Among the clubs that were covered at that time included the St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago White Sox. Later in the season, more teams rolled out their own pass options, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, and the Oakland A’s.
In a sense, the passes reflect several trends. With their availability through the Ballpark App, they are a sign of how technology is changing admission to sporting events, as more fans are relying on electronic tickets as their preferred method for entering games.
Passes are also notable for their emphasis on the standing room areas and social spaces that have been introduced at more ballparks. This was evident in the cases of some teams that offered a type of pass option in 2017, with the Yankees and Astros both making renovations to their facilities that placed a priority on creating a more social atmosphere at games. It appears that at least one other ballpark will be overhauled to continue this trend into 2018, as the Cardinals have already announced a renovation to Busch Stadium that will lead to new social area in right field.
Time will tell how many more teams roll out pass options, and how those that have already offered passes will look to fine tune or drastically change their offerings. What was clear in 2017, however, was that ballpark passes have found their way into baseball, and could play a role in ticketing options around MLB going forward.
Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2017 List: