Last week, we asked you guys to pose any questions you had on A's tickets to Josh Ziegenbusch, Senior Director of A's Ticket services. We sent him everything and he promptly replied. Where there were multiple people asking the same question, I consolidated them. Here are Josh's responses, with my comments sprinkled in.
Is there a way fans can move to lower seats as the game goes on with a mobile app? Paid and free or low-cost upgrades? Any plans to launch such an app? It would offset the cavernous feel on some of the sparsely attended weeknight games and reward the fans that came out. - Benny T.
One game there were only 20,000 fans but no upgrades available on the At the Ballpark app. Why would that be the case? - Jeremy F. Koo
If you're a season ticket holder, can you upgrade your seats to Diamond Level for a game? Are Diamond Level seats ever offered as an upgrade on the At the Ballpark App? - my_cat_max
Josh: We do have an application that MLB produced/manages for us (At the Ballpark). Within the App, fans can purchase and manage your ticket account, check in at the Coliseum, and upgrade your tickets. In addition to ticket upgrades, we have offered fans at the game the opportunity to purchase merchandise for ticket offers that sold out (#NERDPOWER and Journey T-Shirt) for example. We offer upgrades in many price categories. The Diamond Level is sold out for the '14 season, and therefore inventory is not available to offer as part of the upgrade App. Important to note that this piece of technology is new and evolving quickly and not native to our ticket system. In regards to the question about the game where upgrades not available, that was not our intent. Multiple third party vendors are involved behind the scenes to provide fans these features, and there was a temporary break in the supply chain that evening.
Me: It seems that the upgrades are an MLB program, and it would be tedious/confusing to have two separate apps. All the upgrades are paid upgrades, but they are often good deals. If you're smart I'm sure you can figure out a low tech free upgrade solution in many cases.
Ticket Deals and Discounts
Can you give a rundown of the various "regular" deals that are offered (such as the Chevron Card deal)? What are some of the best deals in terms of price, and are there any regular deals on premium seats? - David W.
Also besides ticket deals, what other discounts are there that fans can take advantage of (such as Free Parking Tuesday, Value Deck pricing that comes with a food voucher, etc.)? - David W.
Are there less $2 Wednesday tickets than in years past? Are there plans to phase it out next year? - camperdog
Josh: To guarantee the best seats for the best games at the best price, we recommend a Season Ticket Plan. In terms of single game ticket offers, here's a quick overview of the "regular" ticket deals that the A's offer in conjunction with our sponsors:
- AAA Member- $5 off Field Level and Plaza Level tickets
- Chevron Card- Buy One Get One Field level tickets
- Child/Senior/Active Military- $8 off Plaza level tickets
- We have partnered with Bay Area Costco warehouses and offer a Field Level ticket deal. Two Field Level tickets for $32.99 for most games.
- Lastly, there is ticket offers associated with the Kid's Club as well as the Mathletics program for youth.
- I am confident most fans are aware of our other pricing-friendly promos such as: Free Parking Tuesday, $2 Wednesday, and the Friday Family Pack. It's important to note that we feature jumbo tickets (added-value to the barcode) in every ticket sold in the Value Deck ($6 per ticket), Plaza Club ($10), and Field Box ($10). This credit can be used for both merchandise and concessions throughout the Coliseum.
Dynamic Pricing and StubHub
Given that the A's use dynamic pricing, is there any advice on when to buy your seats? Do they generally increase as the team is doing well? How often in advance do you launch Dynamic Deals? -Shed
Do the A's sell direct through StubHub? Do you recommend or control the price that season ticket holders can re-sell on Stub Hub? - Shed
Josh: We recommend purchasing tickets in advance. Buy early and save is the philosophy. Inventory for weekend and premium games goes quickly, the earlier you commit to the purchase, the better seats/price you will get.
MLB and StubHub have an agreement and the A's do provide ticket holders a seamless online portal (MyTickets) in which to resell tickets. The Club does not recommend nor control any prices, but StubHub has established a pricing floor ($6) for all ticketing transactions.
Me: I've noticed that for weeknight games generally, prices don't dynamically rise for the most part. They usually aren't that close to selling out (although perhaps MVP or certain popular sections may be affected). There are usually cheap seats that the A's put on "Dynamic Deals" in advance of weeknight games. For the most part, though, I've noticed that the longer I wait for weekend games, the price goes up. Sometimes it's not much, but it can be a lot. For example, the price went up $4 in my section for the July 4th game, but for the '74 reunion game I think they went up by almost $30.
Are there plans to offer a mini-plan (e.g. 11 games)? Even if it doesn't come with all the associated season ticket holder benefits?
Can you buy a single season ticket?
Why isn't there ADA pricing for the bleachers when there are seats with handicap decals on them? (I've paid full price for grand slam season tickets for my sister, who is handicapped, the past four years, but it seems that there is ADA pricing in other sections for season tickets). Are there plans to implement assigned seating in the bleachers, at least for disabled fans and their families?
Josh: Our ticket plans range from 12 game (Weekday games) to 82 games (Full Season). We have flexible exchange programs for tickets that you cannot use and offer a substantial discount each game versus the regular price.
Our Fielder’s Choice plan, which is a 24 game pick-em, is the most flexible and popular plan. You choose the price level and games and provide comments on where you would like to sit and we work diligently to process the requests.
Clubs that offer the smaller plans, such as 10-12 games, typically have pre-selected (less attractive) dates that make up the package, and limit the price levels (less desirable). We favor the option for our fans to customize their package, based upon their summer schedule, and not restrict game dates, price levels, or benefits in which to choose. In terms of one seat plans and pricing, each price level and ticket plan offer alternative benefits. For more information on the ticket plans and pricing, I recommend speaking with a Sales representative.
Me: Basically, a lot of our commenters were spot on that the A's don't want people manipulating a 24-game plan by making it a two-person 12-game plan. I'm assuming that is because they'd rather get people to commit to the 24-game price point. You can buy single season tickets on most of the other (i.e. more than 24 games) plans. Per his comment about flexibility, they don't mind you moving those around to mix and match for various games.
Regarding the ADA question specifically, Josh detailed to me that the $9 season ticket price for bleacher seats is already pretty low, so they don't offer an ADA discount on season tickets in the bleachers. However, they do offer such discounts in some other pricier sections. He also added that the open seating in the bleachers is extremely popular so there are no plans to change that at this time.
What are the prices on A's suites generally?
What is the pricing on an A's suite if you're a season ticket holder?
Are there special discounts for suites on weekday games for season ticket holders and other fans (as presumably many go unsold)?
Josh: Our venue is unique in the fact that we have nearly 150 suites as part of the inventory to sell each game. To make more complex, they range in capacity from 6 to 24 people. The best resource to view prices and food packages is http://www.athletics.com/suites. Given that the prices and suite sizes vary, the Season Ticket Holder discount is up to $550 off for an 18 person suite, subject to availability.
Me: My friend got a fairly large suite (15 people I think) for around $250 or $300, however that was through the Season Ticket Holder "Early Bird" suite purchase program, where you had to purchase your suite before April 29th. I don't think prices are that low during the season but it sounds like there is a sizable discount and flexible pricing depending on the game and suite capacity.
Why can't you pick your seat at the automated ticket machines? Are there plans to make them more functional in that regard? - Lew
Those ticket machines at the Coliseum and on the concourse are great. Would you consider adding them elsewhere around Oakland or in the Bay Area (for example, putting one in the Oaklandish stores) to promote the easy sale of tickets? Are there plans in the works for this? - drink409
Josh: Ticket kiosks: These have been a tremendous asset for us to supplement the box office staff. The functionality is limited to only choosing "best available" and not select from a seating map. We recognize this is not an ideal scenario, but does accommodate the majority of walk-up buyer's needs. They do take consistent maintenance and upfront costs, but finding local partners to manage is something to consider.
Me: drink, sounds like you may have given them a good idea.
Assuming the A's make the playoffs, will the third deck seats be available with all the other seats when playoff tickets go on sale (rather than as a last-minute addition like last year)? Will they offer third deck season ticket holders the right to buy postseason strips in the third deck? Last year they were pushed to plaza outfield and it was disappointing.
Josh: It's a bit premature for any Postseason answers; we have just begun the process and should have information to share in the coming weeks.
Me: "The coming weeks" at least sounds much more promising than "when the A's clinch" as it was in previous years. Looks like they will try to get this out much farther in advance, but no word yet on the specific answers to your questions.
Can we get an entrance on giveaway days that doesn't have a wait line for anything, i.e. for fans who have no interest in the giveaway and just want to get into the game? (asked by dozens of fans who could care less about a bobblehead)
Josh: A non-promotional item entrance gate is something that has been and is under consideration to my knowledge. Given the queuing of fans on property, we need to find the best solution for all parties involved.
Me: Good to know that they are considering this right now. Hopefully our voice is heard.
Thanks to all for asking great questions, and of course thanks to Josh Z for his time and effort in getting us answers!