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Sweet (Ballpark) Suites

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Jay Weiner at Minnpost.com has an article up on the suites in the new Twins ballpark. Now Jay has been following the saga of stadium building in the Twin Cities for a long time but I thougt the slant of his article was a little too hysterical.

Basically it looks like the suites are going to be beautiful (see picture above). Nice cabinetry, plenty of flatscreen tvs, leather chairs, good sitelines, granite countertops, etc. The article has an attitude that this is a bad thing, maybe a sniff of ati-elitism going on. My take is who cares? I don't have enough $$$ for a suite but if others do and the Twins can sell them, that means they won't be looking to take as much out of my pocket when I go to the game.

It looks like the Twins have committments on 44 of the 55 planned suites. At $90,000 to $200,000 a year, that's not too bad. That's 44x$90,000 to $200,000 that I won't have to cough up. Who knows, maybe the Twins will be able to afford Delmon Young's next $150 million contract!

Bottom line is I want this ballpark to be top notch. I want it to be a beautiful place to watch Major League Baseball outdoors. If some corporate suits want to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilige, all the power to 'em. Just get me a ballpark I can be proud of.

Comments

There are certain things that I have noticed over time. One is that Sid Hartman cannot hide the contempt in his voice when discussing the success the Wild have had in St. Paul, and the fact that NHL hockey did not end up at the Target Center. (oh, those games REALLY aren't sold out.)

Two is that Jay Wiener cannot hide the contempt in his voice when talking about new stadiums. He is knowledgeable on the subject and a good writer, but he simply cannot hide the contempt.

What - are these new suites supposed to be pieces of shit? Is there even really a story here?

I don't have enough $$$ for a suite but if others do and the Twins can sell them, that means they won't be looking to take as much out of my pocket when I go to the game.

They don't get any suite money at the Dome, but prices are pretty low there, eh? By your logic, shouldn't they be trying to get more out of our pockets?

I doubt the new suite money will prevent the Twins from maximizing their revenue from every other seat in the house.

If some corporate suits want to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilige, all the power to 'em. Just get me a ballpark I can be proud of.

What if those corporate suites push the upper decks higher and further from the field, or actually reduce the number of regular seats available for fans? I'm not terribly proud that the economics of the modern sports business necessitate a publicly-funded playground for the rich, no matter how pretty it may be.

There are certain things that I have noticed over time. One is that Sid Hartman cannot hide the contempt in his voice when discussing the success the Wild have had in St. Paul, and the fact that NHL hockey did not end up at the Target Center. (oh, those games REALLY aren't sold out.)

Two is that Jay Wiener cannot hide the contempt in his voice when talking about new stadiums. He is knowledgeable on the subject and a good writer, but he simply cannot hide the contempt.

What - are these new suites supposed to be pieces of shit? Is there even really a story here?

Spycake I knew I'd get a rise out of you!! No doubt, the Twins will try to get every dollar out of every seat, my point is without the Suite, they will be trying to get MORE $$$ out of the seats that I will be sitting in.

A stronger point is the issue of suites pushing cheaper seats further away from the field or reducing the nubmber of cheaper seats. Fortunately we're far enough along in ballpark design where suites are better integrated into ballparks. Will some seats suffer? yes. I guess a sacrifice I'll make.

No doubt, the Twins will try to get every dollar out of every seat, my point is without the Suite, they will be trying to get MORE $$$ out of the seats that I will be sitting in.

These seem to be contradictory statements. They will try to maximize the revenue they get from every seat. Period. This happens regardless of whether suites are there.

If you can find a stadium or arena where there are few if any suites, and ticket prices for "normal" seats are much greater than average or expected across-the-board, I'd be interested in seeing that.

Fortunately we're far enough along in ballpark design where suites are better integrated into ballparks.

Or their presence, and the coach-class status of the "regular" seats, has simply become more predictable/acceptable. (Unless you think the Nationals adding an entire extra level of suites to their original design was a product of "better integration." And is $375+ million of public funds just "better integration" of ballpark financing too?)

Will some seats suffer? yes. I guess a sacrifice I'll make.

Every seat in the upper deck will suffer. And that's not counting the 8,000+ seats that will be eliminated completely due to our advances in "ballpark design."

I think the suites are sweet.

Rather than worry about what impact they may or may not have on the rest of the seating, can't we just be happy with the knowledge that all of us that attend the games are going to have better views than we would in the Dome?

Well, that's not precisely true, Snyder. Some seats, particularly those in the upper deck around the infield, will likely be higher up and further from the field than at the Dome. And the view from the seats in left field won't likely change at all.

Not a terrible trade-off for a "nicer" park, I suppose, but again, that's ignoring the simple fact that the new park will eliminate 8,000+ seats. Thus many of us "that attend the games" won't have any view at all in the new park.

It's hard to tell from the model or the pictures, but I don't think it's right to assume that the suites are going to push upper deck seats further out. Modern venues have more "vertical" seating arrangements whereas the Dome's are more "horizontal" so I do think the view will be better from that perspective. Plus there's the fact that going down the right and left field lines, you hopefully won't have to try and figure out how to sit sideways in your seat like at the Dome.

Also, how many times did the Twins actually sell out the Dome? I don't think that "loss" of 8,000 seats is going to really be meaningful to baseball fans except maybe for the opener and when the Yankees come to town.

I agree that the upper deck seats will be much more vertical (20-30 feet) and farther away than those at the dome. The 1st row at the new park is appx where the middle of the upper deck at the dome is, and the last row is almost exactly where the last row is at the dome.

J2K said it well. The upper-deck seats have to be further out than at the Dome, given the big increase in lower-bowl seating at the new park.

I don't think that "loss" of 8,000 seats is going to really be meaningful to baseball fans

Snyder, you're assuming that the seat-price distribution will be the same in the new park as at the Dome, which is clearly not the case -- again, note the huge emphasis on pricey lower-bowl seating. The 8,000+ eliminated seats (up to 16,000, for playoff games) are disproportionately affecting the more affordable (and more available) seats in the upper-deck and the outfield.

People who attend several games a week in the "cheap seats" will be unable to sustain such attendance at the new park, even if they are willing to pay the increased "cheap seat" price. Even assuming modest demand, there simply won't be enough such seats offered.

There are advantages to the new park, certainly; but there are also disadvantages, and virually every one of those serves to marginalize a certain level of fan, simply because those fans are of less financial consequence to the Twins.

OK, but see, I'm one of those "People who attend several games a week in the "cheap seats" and I'm OK with the idea that I may not be able to go to as many games as I used to because the ones I do go to should be more enjoyable from a spectator perspective.

Saying that, I would not actually be surprised to see the squeeze placed more on the mid-priced seats that don't sell now in the Dome rather than all of the squeeze being on the cheapest seats.

While I doubt Carl cares much one way or the other, I do think Dave St. Peter and Jerry Bell put a greater emphasis on keeping the Twins ticket prices affordable for families than they've been given credit for.

Snyder -- I too am one of those "cheap seat" dwellers. But I, and the group of folks with whom I attend, go for the game on the field and the community in the stands. This experience is not materially improved by attending fewer games at a facility without a roof (nor is it improved due to wider concourses, more restrooms, and more Twins-controlled retail shops).

I would not actually be surprised to see the squeeze placed more on the mid-priced seats that don't sell now in the Dome rather than all of the squeeze being on the cheapest seats

From the Twins Ballpark Comparison site:

 	Twins Ballpark	Metrodome
Seating in Lower Level 20,000 22,289
Seating in Upper Level 13,468 32,445
Suites 50-60 95
Club Seats 3,000 243

The eliminated seats are not only concentrated almost entirely in the upper level, but by the ballpark plans, it is specifically the outfield upper deck -- basically the entire "cheap seat"/general admission area -- that is being eliminated.

I do think Dave St. Peter and Jerry Bell put a greater emphasis on keeping the Twins ticket prices affordable for families than they've been given credit for.

They're affordable in the Dome because most of the seats in the Dome are a hard sell on most days. And now they're building a new park with an emphasis on ticket scarcity, and as I noted above, the virtual elimination of the general admission "cheap seat."

Pardon me for doubting the idea of the influential St. Peter or Bell having ever lobbied for lower ticket prices, or the addition of more affordable seats, that wasn't primarily a means to improve the Twins' bottom line.

Those would be the cream of the crop for the new adjustments... man I wish I could afford a season ticket in the suites... I'm a nobody in the bleeds.

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