Opening day demand leaves some bars, fans in the cold
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Whether you consider it a time-honored rite of spring, a spiritual / baseball rebirth or a justifiable excuse to get blitzed on a weekday afternoon, opening day has always been an unofficial holiday in Milwaukee.
Like so many holidays, the Brewers' home opener has taken a distinctly commercial turn. As a result, some long-standing traditions are being altered and many fans and tavern owners are unhappy.
First, a little background ...
A brutal winter, coupled with skyrocketing hope, hype and a handful of other factors have created a huge demand for tickets to the Brewers' game April 4 against San Francisco.
Simply put, there aren't enough tickets to go around.
"We've done the best we can to get at least some tickets to the people that have been so loyal to the ballclub over the years," said Tyler Barnes, the Brewers' vice president of communications.
"At the end of the day, we don't have a fraction of the inventory to match the demand. We could probably have three home openers and it still wouldn't be enough."
As recently as a couple of years ago, the biggest headache some fans faced on opening day was deciding which tavern outing to join for the afternoon. Several area bars offered packages that included a ticket to the game, a bus ride to the ballpark and often pre- and post-game parties.
With their popularity in the market surging, the Brewers began to push partial season ticket packages -- the nine- and 20-game packages that have become a significant source of team revenue. As an enticement for fans to buy those packages, the Brewers included tickets to the home opener.
That cut into the supply of tickets previously allotted to area taverns, and fans that have become accustomed to buying group packages at their favorite bar are finding out that they aren't available.
The Trysting Place Pub in Menomonee Falls is a prime example.
"We probably took 200 people to opening day and we've been doing it for about 20 years," manager Scott Mayhoffer said. "This year, they only offered us 48 tickets, so we decided we're not going to do it at all.
"We kind of feel like we got screwed. In the lean years, we always brought a big group. Now that the team is better, it's like they've forgotten about us."
Mayhoffer said the Trysting Place would plan a group outing for later in the season, but that it will likely be for a game at Wrigley Field in Chicago and not at Miller Park. Though some other bars are taking a similar stance, many are planning trips to the ballpark later in the season.
"Our group sales overall are up 25 percent over last year," Barnes said. "While we don't have as many groups at opening day, it's spilling into other games on the schedule. The group business here is extraordinarily strong.
"We certainly understand the frustration people are feeling about opening day. As demand goes up for the season packages, it puts a squeeze on the available inventory."
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True dat belks, but that's not the Brewers fault. Unfortunately, that's the entertainment business right now.
The way that Leffs sold their tickets this year is one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard of. Why would a bar sell their opening day packages online only? That means any lazy sap could sit at their desk and order tickets without having to get up. Think about it Leffs, if people have to come into the bar to buy their packages, they'll probably buy a drink or two while they're there, putting more money in Leffs pocket.
why should the brewers be any different....... i remember when wisconsin needed bars to fill the stadium on a saturday....the bars once filled lambeau field......mu and bucks are the same..... dick hacket used to beg the bars to sell opening day tix!! they will need the bars again!!!!
I like Leffler's idea about game two. Especially with it being on a weekend day this year. I'd do it.
The only problem with that statement is that instead of the bars charging 60-70 bucks a ticket and providing a ride, food, and beer you have scalpers buying all those tickets and re-selling them for much more than that, with no beer, food or ride.
Show me the other Talkback
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