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With ticket sales down, MLB banks on bargains

Well, I guess this explains why Bob DuPuy was on CNBC last Wednesday.

As the economic downturn deepens, baseball officials report that ticket sales have decreased significantly

Major League Baseball officials want to entice fans to make the ballpark their vacation destination this year, and have they got a deal for you.

The economic downturn is affecting turnstiles, with MLB President Bob DuPuy saying group and individual sales are down 1 million as Sunday's openers approach.

Major League Baseball launched a program Thursday to spread the word about affordable tickets and promotions at all 30 ballparks.

Teams hope to recoup some of the revenue lost in decreased season-ticket sales through walk-ups, and they see a growing market among families who have decided not to travel for vacation.

MLB has been concerned about the economy for awhile.  Bud Selig had Paul Volcker give the owners a speech warning of financial armageddon in the off-season.  Spring training attendance was down, leading to concerns that regular season attendance would be, too.  (Oddly, I found the spring training games more crowded than last year.  But hey, I'll believe the stats over my eyes in this instance. ;-)

I guess there could be a silver lining to the bad economy, if it leads MLB to be more fan-friendly. But...the average ticket price has still gone up:

...Prices went up 5%, with 16 teams raising their average, 10 decreasing and four staying flat. The New York Yankees, moving into a new ballpark, led the increases at 76.3% for an average ticket price of $72.97.

(Holy cow.  Clearly, I can't afford to be a Yankee fan.)

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