Braves say their first exhibition game in the new ballpark is for season ticket holders only

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The Braves have announced the first game in their new taxpayer-funded ballpark. An exhibition game, that is, against the New York Yankees next March 31. Fun!

If you want to go to that game, however, you have to spend a minimum of $747. Because that’s the absolute cheapest full-season ticket package the Braves offer, in their grandstand infield section, which are the nosebleed seats.

But wait, why would you have to shell out for 81 nosebleed tickets simply to go see an exhibition game in March? Because that exhibition is for the A-Listers only, baby:

The “A-List” is the game the Braves give full season ticket holders, ranging from the folks who pay that $747 for one bad ticket on up to those who pay $41,500 for a single season ticket to sit in the Sun Trust Club right behind home plate.

It’s probably worth noting that even the team with the hottest tickets in all of baseball — probably the San Francisco Giants, who have sold out something like 500 straight games — don’t sell out the park via season tickets. I saw a figure from a year or two ago showing them as having 11,000 seats available for individual game sales. That may be outdated information, but generally speaking, the dream for teams is to sell about 70% of their seats as season ticket packages. Few if any do. According to an official from a club I spoke to this afternoon, even clubs with great attendance have something like 15,000-20,000 seats available for single game sales. Many clubs have far more available.

Which suggests to me that the Braves either (a) are totally cool with their new ballpark being half full, or less, for that exhibition game against the Yankees; or else (b) today’s claim that the game will be available for A-Listers only is an effort to spur some season ticket sales and that, between now and March, that policy will be relaxed and single tickets will be available for that game.

All is fair in love, war and marketing, so good luck to them on that. This isn’t doing all that much, however, for the perception that the Braves move to their new ballpark is a cash grab aimed at maxing out rich fan patronage while leaving fans of lesser means out in the cold.