The IronPigs released their 2015 Promotional Schedule yesterday, and with it some news about pricing changes for the upcoming season. Our own Kram takes a look at the promos, the pricing–and the parking.
This blog has been around for many years, and we’ve had a lot of discussions about promotional giveaways at IronPigs games. We’ve talked about the good (“Hey, free stuff!!”), the bad (“Why don’t they just give out 10,000 of these?”) and the ugly (“I’m never coming back here; I didn’t get a bobble doll.”) Through it all, I’ve maintained a couple key things:
- People love the promos: Nobody ever asks me who the opponent is for the ‘Pigs, just “What night is it?” As in, hat night or t-shirt night or fireworks night or whatnot.
- I love the promos: I won’t fight anyone for one, and usually I just give stuff to my kids, but the themes and giveaways have a way of breaking up the monotony of a 72-game home schedule.
- There’s always a way around the problems: You’re a season ticket holder and you don’t want to stand in line? Sign up for the package–it costs a little extra, but you’ll be guaranteed every single giveaway. Or, upgrade to club level: The giveaways are guaranteed upstairs. If they’re still offering it, take a 5-yr plan and the promo packages come free! Don’t have a plan? Just come early and camp out. It’s good to take half a day off work once in a while, anyway. Can’t take a day off? Most of this stuff is available on ebay if you’re willing to pay a few bucks, and you just have to have it.
Let’s Look at What’s on Tap for 2015:
For a full view of the schedule and accompanying press release, click here. I like to break it down into categories, so:
- The Bobbles: I’m going to call them Bobble Dolls, because that’s what they are. We’ve got three this year, and no double-headed, double-play Galvis-to-Cesar like we wanted. But, nevertheless cool: 4/11 Franco; 4/13 Manuel; 5/11 Giles
- The Hats: I love the hat giveaways, yet I never wear them. What?!? Well, I usually give them to friends or maybe keep one for mowing the lawn. This year, I’ll save them for 2015-2016 Phantoms’ hat tricks! 4/9 Opening Night (Service Electric, so you know it’ll be good!); 5/21 Youth Cap; 6/6 USA Caps; 6/21 Men’s Fedora; 7/30 Camo Caps; 8/1 Bacon Caps.
- What’s New: T-Shirt Tuesdays are new! Almost every Tuesday game has a T-Shirt giveaway. No doubt they stole this from Moosic, who had it last season–but then, they likely stole it from someone else. No matter. And I know I already have a ton of T-Shirts. It’s a cool idea, though! And, most of my new T-Shirts are orange… All of the designs have not yet been announced. My hope is that the hockey shirt is NOT orange, and that none of the shirts have a RailRiders logo, regardless of reason.
- What’s Different: There are always some unique things. That pizza cutter has come in handy more times than I can tell you! This year: Socks and Wiffle Ball set for the kiddos, an Ice Cream Scoop, and a hot/cold pack are unique. The stemless wine glass for the ladies and the fedora for the guys are nice ideas as well.
- The Regular Schedule: On a weekly basis, Sunday is “Kids Run the Bases” after the game, Tuesdays are T-Shirts (except when it’s a day game), Wednesdays are “Ladies Night” –except day games, Thursdays are pre-game happy hour (as per usual, 5-6PM $1 hot dogs, $2 domestic drafts except day games), Fridays are fireworks, and Saturday Trough Concerts after the game starting May 9.
- The Kiddos: As I mentioned above, lots of this stuff should be for the kids anyway. My kids have full-priced seats, yet they get gypped out of the promo item more days than not. It seems like the kiddo items have been expanded somewhat, and I applaud that: Caps, Card Sets, Athletic Socks, Soccer Ball, Piggy Bank, Popcorn Bowl, Wiffle Ball/Bat, and a growth chart are featured thus far. I wouldn’t mind having them draw the “kids” line at 14 rather than 18, though, like the Phantoms do.
- The Jersey Auctions: Miracle League, Star Wars, Camouflage, Captain America, and Elf Jerseys are featured–design details to come!
It is pretty impressive, though, when you think about it. 72 home dates and most have–or will have–something going on. It’s a lot of work to assemble–with the sponsors, the proofs and production (you know, like you wouldn’t want to mis-spell a player’s name…), and ordering and delivery (like salt and pepper shakers). Consider, for half as many games, it took the Phantoms two weeks into their season to produce a promo schedule. Years ago, the Scranton Yankees used to have only about 5 things on theirs.
So I’m happy to have it. What’s missing? Well, IronRail stuff, so far. Hopefully they add an “IronRail Champions” T-Shirt for one of the Tuesdays.
Ticket Prices Go Up
Tucked within the press release for the promo schedule was a paragraph about 2015 ticket prices. Here it is:
Single-game tickets for the 2015 season go on sale during the club’s annual National Pig Day festivities at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday, March 7 at 9 a.m. Single-game ticket prices will incur a $2 increase in 2015 – however, any purchase made in advance of the day of game remain at the same price as 2014. Single-game tickets can also be purchased at IronPigsBaseball.com or by calling (610) 841-PIGS (7447) beginning at 1 p.m. on March 7.
I think the wording is important. “Single-game ticket prices will incur a $2 increase in 2015…” means two things. First, they were careful not to turn to the more negative, “Day of game tickets will incur a $2 surcharge…” Second, if prices are going up for day-of-game for 2015 you can probably assume that they will go up for ALL for 2016. Perhaps we’ll be able to lock in with a season ticket purchase at the end of the season. That’s something to watch.
We got a taste of this at the media conference announcing the new “Pig Pen” seating area, in January, where they told us the advance and day-of-game prices would be different for that new area. The Phantoms also charge a different price day-of-game, but I assumed that was mostly a PPL Center/Comcast/Spectacor thing. I suppose the increase could help defray the additional window staff on game days? Just a guess.
So why would the IronPigs do this? Are they trying to drive away walk-up purchases? I’m not sure. The easy answer is: “Because they can.” With hockey able to sell out almost 9,000 at $20-$55 per seat, the ‘Pigs are still on the low side. I’m sure they’ll be monitoring the walk-ups versus the other years to see what kind of impact this has.
What can one do to avoid the fees? You know I’m always thinking about stuff like this:
- Purchase Season Tickets: We’ve been over reasons why someone should have season tickets (here) and now there are a couple more. Season ticket prices will avoid the $2 day-of-game increase, as well as the $1 web “convenience” fee. In addition, loaded value is back for 2015: The bigger the plan, the more credit you get!
- Purchase your single-game tickets in advance: It’s obvious. If you’re planning on attending a game, get those ticket orders in quickly. You’ll probably get better seats, you’ll avoid the up-charge, and you won’t have to stand in line at the window.
- Purchase your single-game tickets in person: I’ve never purchased over the phone, so I don’t know if that helps avoid the on-line fee. But, the most expensive way to buy the tickets will now be: day of game, online–add $3 to the base price. Avoid both my stopping by the ticket window prior to game day, or purchasing your extra tickets at fan services during a prior game.
Parking Goes to $5 for 2015
The IronPigs web site still has parking listed as $3, but the NoiseNation staff has received multiple reports from multiple sources that parking will increase to $5 in 2015. Why would they do this? Again, they can. With parking at $6 for Phantoms and $10 for PPL Center concerts and even more at Dorney Park, you had to figure this was coming. Did their lease go up for that LSI (or whatever it’s called now) lot? I don’t know. And, yes, I know that many, many Minor League Baseball teams don’t charge a thing for parking. But, here are some ways to alleviate the parking fees:
- Purchase a parking pass. In the past, there was little advantage to purchasing a parking pass. No discount, plus if you miss a game you miss the parking you paid for as well. Now, however, you will be offered a corresponding parking pass when you purchase your season tickets. The pass nets to $2.50 a game, I believe, which saves you half and you break even if you make it to at least half of the games, and save money if you make it to more.
- Park off site. I know several people who have been doing this already. They don’t mind a little extra walk and they save the fee. Just be very careful that you have permission to park there: A ticket or tow-job will cost a lot more than the $5 you saved.
- Car pool or have someone drop you off. Public transportation, too.
- Come early or come late. While I don’t do it on purpose, sometimes if I come to the games early enough or late enough, there’s no one to collect the parking. I’m happy to pay it, but if there’s no one there, then it’s not like I’m going to toss the $5 out the window.
- Read more about saving parking money at the park, here.
So what impact will the ticket prices and parking increases have on the attendance? I’m not sure–there are varying opinions as I speak to folks in and around the IronPigs community. You can bet they’ll be tracking it, though, and it will be interesting to see what happens in 2016, then. Perhaps these new fees will get me that new scoreboard I’ve always wanted…
See you at the park,