In an interview last week with Shi Davidi, Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro stated that season ticket sales for 2018 are sitting at 13,000. This down significantly from the 20,000 sold last season. In addition to the decreased numbers related to season tickets, word has it that even for the opening 4-game series against the Yankees that there’s still plenty of tickets available.
Rogers Centre will probably end up being pretty full for each of the games of that opening series against New York. The true test to gauge the state of ticket sales won’t come until the Blue Jays start playing against teams other than the Yankees or Red Sox. Toronto shouldn’t be surprised one bit by such a drop in ticket sales. What do you expect is going to happen when you bump-up the price of tickets after not just a losing season, but one where the Blue Jays played some of the most uninspiring baseball they’ve played in a long time.
Anyone who knows this team well enough, understands that when the Blue Jays are winning, the fans come out in droves. What happened last season with a very respectable average attendance of 39,554 was simply the residual effect of the previous two years when Toronto was a contender. Towards the end of the 2017 schedule, as any hope of the Blue Jays playing meaningful baseball disappeared, crowds at Rogers Centre began to thin-out and look much like they did prior to the successful run the team had three seasons ago.
After the poor quality baseball the Blue Jays played last year, many fans feel jipped they paid good money to have to watch that in person. To top it off, it surely doesn’t help matters that coming off a year like they did that Toronto still decided to increase the price of tickets this off-season. The Blue Jays can get away with the prices they’re currently charging for tickets, but only if the team is competitive. When Toronto proves they can get back to their winning ways, then the fans will start coming back in healthy numbers and not be so concerned about increased prices.
It’s still early yet, but 2018 may end up being a rough year for the Blue Jays at the box office. When so many tickets remain unsold for a series against the Yankees to kick-off the season, that’s when you know the club misjudged the market.