Major League Baseball has spent a lot of time wondering about how to court and keep young fans and how to get more families to the ballpark. While I’m sure they have retained all manner of marketing and demographic experts to look into all of that, the most obvious problem is that baseball tickets have become monstrously expensive over the years, even after adjusting for inflation. If you can’t watch games for free at home — sorry, that requires a cable plan with the sports tier! — and if you can’t bring the kids to a few games a year without breaking the bank, there really is no easy way in for the little ones.
Today the Orioles announced a plan that will help address that: the “Kids Cheer Free Initiative,” which gives each adult who purchases an upper deck seat two free tickets for kids nine and under. Tickets under the plan, through April 29 and excluding Opening Day, can be purchased here. As the season goes on, free kids tickets will be available for each months’ upcoming games on a rolling basis.
In conjunction with this, the Orioles are expanding their family-friendly programs, including their Kids Corner, that has jungle gyms, bounce houses and the like, as well as dates for fireworks and kids-run-the-bases promotions.
Ballparks have become a decidedly business class experience over the past couple of decades. The construction of Camden Yards, ironically, helped usher in this business class age. As such, this is a good move by the Orioles. If a kid has fun at a ballgame when he or she is little, he or she is way more likely to be a fan for life. By letting kids into the place for free, there will be a lot more kids having fun at ballgames.