Tigers hold one-day sale for $6.01 tickets

Lynn Henning
The Detroit News
Ian Kinsler

In one of their more dramatic promotions in recent years, the Tigers ran a one-day “flash sale” Wednesday, offering upper-deck tickets to Friday’s game against the White Sox, and mezzanine seats to the June 6-8 home series against the Blue Jays, for $6.01.

The price corresponded to Wednesday’s date. Buyers had until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday to buy the tickets, with all orders online only.

“It’s another ticket incentive, with great value, and the response has been positive,” said Ron Colangelo, Tigers vice president for communications.

Colangelo explained Wednesday’s one-day special was consistent with past promotions in recent seasons, including occasional “buy one, get one free” offers.

The Tigers are not the only big league club in 2016 to offer $6 seats. The White Sox, and even the Cardinals, a team known for packing its ballpark throughout the year, have had similar enticements during a spring that has been noteworthy for weather not always suited to baseball.

The Tigers box office has been sagging on a relative scale in 2016. The team through 23 home dates is down 42,499 tickets from the same point in 2015. Its home-date average of 29,338 is a decrease of 1,848 customers per game compared with last season.

Season tickets also slipped modestly ahead of the 2016 season in a reflection of the team’s last-place finish in 2015.

The Tigers traditionally deal with a box-office challenge during spring for two perpetual reasons. Weather can be uninviting, while a school year that doesn’t end until early June also tends to hold down traffic, particularly on evenings when the Tigers play midweek night games.

Overall, the Tigers on Wednesday were 13th among 30 teams in home attendance, and seventh in the 15-team American League.

Wednesday’s “flash sale” — a common, short-window feature throughout professional sports — was held a day before the Tigers and Yankees offer a prime example of how weather can disrupt teams and their business offices.

The Tigers and Yankees will play at 7:40 p.m. Thursday in a makeup game that had originally been scheduled April 10 at Comerica Park.

The game was rained out and re-scheduling became nearly prohibitive given that inter-division teams make only a single road trip to an inter-league opponent’s home field.

The Tigers were scheduled to fly home on their team charter, late Wednesday, from Anaheim, Calif., following a game against the Angels that was to begin at 7:05 p.m., Detroit time. The flight would not arrive in Detroit until after daybreak Thursday.

Players and staffers would be required to get a few hours of daytime sleep before reporting to the ballpark at mid-afternoon. In an attempt to buy at least 30 minutes extra for weary players, Thursday’s game time is being pushed to 7:40 p.m. from its normal 7:10 start.

With weather warming, and the Yankees, White Sox, and Blue Jays moving into Detroit for a seven-game home stand, the Tigers are counting on crowds to pick up, even when a team beneath .500 and playing, at best, uneven baseball in 2016, has been nearly as much of a business deterrent as the weather.

The Tigers last season drew 2,726,048, down from 2014’s attendance of 2,917,209, the team’s last playoff season. The Tigers in 2007 broke the 3 million mark for the first time in club history and three times since (2008, 2012, and 2013) also have surpassed 3 million tickets sold.