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Marlins coming up with new ways to try to get you to attend their games

When the Marlins moved into their new ballpark in 2012, they said they expected to average at least 30,000 spectators per game and sell 15,000 season tickets annually, at least for the first few years.

They fell short in the first year (27,400 and 12,000), then predictably nose-dived in both categories last season after slashing payroll, dropping to 19,584 distributed tickets per game in 2013 (ahead of only Tampa) and selling just 5000 season tickets.

And now, even after an offseason devoid of any public relations disasters, the Marlins are still trying to reach 5000 season tickets, just days before the March 31 opener. They’re hoping five factors ultimately will boost attendance:

### A better team. With the addition of four new starting position players and an augmented bench, the Marlins aren’t likely to endure another 100-loss season. But nobody is predicting playoffs.

“The ballpark is fantastic,” Marlins president David Samson said. “But now it’s time to match the ballpark with the product, and I don’t mean as a payroll. I mean as the result.”

### Lower ticket prices. The Marlins reduced prices for every seat, with an average cut of 25 percent on season tickets and 20 percent on single game tickets. Some season-ticket prices were dropped as much 69 percent, and some single game tickets as much as 55 percent.

The lowest-priced seats are now $9 on weekends and $12 on weekends.

“It’s supply and demand,” Samson said. “We want more people. We didn’t perform the way we should have performed. We’re going to lower prices.”

Samson said stubhub.com will not be permitted to charge anything less than $6 for Marlins tickets.

### A “rewards plus” points system similar to the type of programs that airlines and major hotel chains use.

Sean Flynn, the Marlins’ senior vice president/marketing, said the program will be available only to season-ticket holders this year, but to all ticket holders beginning in 2015.

Here’s how it works: Season-ticket holders will receive varying amounts of points for buying tickets, actually attending the games, posting Marlins-requested messages on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram and purchasing merchandise at the team store. At some point in the next year, fans also can earn points by clicking on news stories on Marlins.com, buying concessions and other Marlins-related activities.

Points can be redeemed for tickets to future games, suite access, bats or baseballs used in games, retail items and passes to concerts or other Sun Life Stadium events.

The perks for the fans who earn the highest level of points: participating in batting practice or walking out with the lineup card (accompanied by manager Mike Redmond) before the game.

“We had two goals: to retain customers and to grow our fan base,” Flynn said. “Increasing attendance is a longterm goal when we open it up to all fans.”

The Marlins are not sharing with the general public a specific breakdown of how many points are needed to redeem what prizes, but Flynn said season-ticket holders will have that information on a secured portion of the Marlins web site by Monday. Flynn said season ticket holders are automatically enrolled.

### Faster games. The Marlins played the fastest games in the majors last season, largely because they scored fewer runs than any other team in baseball. Samson believes the slow pace of games might be hurting attendance and has told players to hurry it up.

“Our focus in Miami is pace of game,” Samson said. “It’s very important to me. The games are going too long."

MLB games averaged 2 hours, 59 minutes during the 2013 regular season and 3:22 in the playoffs.

"If we want to engage fans 18-49, we have to play faster," Samson said. "[In the new replay system], there needs to be a call on the field, a replay, and an overturn within 60 seconds. Period. We're not going to put up with 3 1/2-hour games. Our fans don't want it."

Samson said the Marlins also will encourage batters not to step out of the box as often or pitchers to step off the mound.

“For us, these four-hour games and 3 1/2-hour games, it can't happen," Samson said. "We are studying all of our home games, and we're finding out what can we do to shave our running time. This is a Marlins thing, because I've had it. Our fans have had it. There should be 2-hour, 35-minute games."

Commissioner Bud Selig told me last week that he agrees with Samson's contention that the pace of games must improve, and he's working on it.

Is Samson convinced this market will support baseball to the level the team expected in a new ballpark? “Yes, because it’s our job,” he said. “We failed so far, but we’re getting better. It’s our job to give our fans a winning franchise and a stable franchise.”

### More entertainment. Saturday night concerts no longer will be limited to the west plaza. There will be concerts and parties (with disc jockeys) in the Clevelander area on the east plaza on select Saturdays, beginning April 5, when DJ Laz hosts.

     

Comments

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Lt. Lois Einhorn

Fire that weasel scumbag David Samson and have Jeffrey Loria sell the team and I'll go to games.

Charles

I will never knowingly give boy Samson a penny of my money. I have already given too much with guaranteeing his stadium. The government is taking that money under threat of imprisonment, so I really can't get away from it. I also refuse to watch them on TV. There is plenty of baseball to watch that doesn't involve giving money to idiots like loris and Samson.

FIUJM

Sell The team already Loria!!! When you do, I guarantee to buy season tickets again.

Diana Ballinger

I think its great they should give back to the fans! But not just season ticket holders! There are many fans who either can not attend 81 games which isnt fesable to the working class. Or just cant afford the packages but still attend as many games as possible. For what ever reason we dont by packages. I belive we are the ones who make up the bulk of the attendance.

Grant Stern

I renewed my Club tickets (with 3 partners) last year after receiving a very significant incentive package last year. The team responded by firing all of the regular folks who made our level of the stadium convenient to pay a premium for the seat.

This year, the team did cut prices, but refused to offer any incentives like last year. We cancelled our subscription.

The team needs to approach people like myself, seriously, and make us an offer we can't refuse. Because we didn't NEED to get tickets last year, we wanted to support the team - the players mainly - because we're passionate about baseball and though the stadium deal stinks, the owner is overly prominent and MLB is a horrible organization - we're just passionate about the sport and want to see the Miami Marlins become a success for the good of our city too.

It's just sad to see a team so insular in thinking, and in denial of any form of reality. Reach out - we are not all angry cynics - but we are realists.

Lt. Lois Einhorn

This franchise is not viable under this ownership, no matter what team they put on the field.

Jeffrey Loria and David Samson are bad people. Period. Absolute scumbags.

They were literally the bad guy from Major League, the front office who wanted to lose games and drop attendance so they could justify selling the team to another city. They destroyed the Montreal Expos to sold them to Washington. It's outrageous that they were allowed to buy another MLB franchise.

And in Miami they've been no less greedy and heartless. They only want Miami's money. That's it, period.

Look at how they address their profit problem, they break it down and analyze it, and figure out that if they keep the games to 2 hours and 35 minutes and lose fewer than 100 games, then the number say they should start making money again.

F*** David Samson and f*** Jeffrey Loria, this city will not forgive them, they're better off selling the team.

Ship shape

As long as Samson And Loria are involved in screwing the Miami taxpayer. People will stay away in droves. Kachs a hoyse.

TRW

Loria has screwed the Miami tax payers with the help of Alverez and some commissioners. Sampson is just the scum that floats to the top of the of boiling garbage. Screw the Marlins and all that enabled this monumental theft of money from the tax payers.

Seth

The location is the issue. Nobody wants to go to Little Havana.

Dawn

Loria can kiss my a**, I'm not giving him squat. I'll go to games as soon as he sells the team.

Randy Shannons' Agent

Seth,
The location is the least of the issues.
Issue #1 is most arent willing to give those scumbags a dime. Location is way,way down the list

Former Season Tckt Holder

Mr. Loria can you please sell the team so we can become a viable franchise. It took you 3 months to apologize after the fire sale last year and in such cowardly fashion by writing a letter in the local papers instead of in a press conference like a man. There is a special place in hell for you Mr. Loria

Waiting

David Samson and Jeff Loria are radioactive. Fans and the general public are staying away until they sell out. It has been reported that the taxpayers are forced to pay over $3 Bil in interest and principle payments on the bonds sold to pay for the stadium and garages. Ick.

Blutarsky

Nothing Samson and Loria do will increase attendance until both of them are gone. Period.End of subject.

joe r

you are kidding me right: posting Marlins-requested messages on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

Social media isn't helping the marlins, it only hurts them actually because of their PR problem

and why in the world do they keep the points system a secret...if its so good they should be telling everyone about it and its going to be on the website and even though its secured we are going to find out by say monday anyway...IF they insist on the whole social media thing then the points system would be a good place to announce it but know they are going to put it on password protected part of the site...its like the club with nobody in it yet they have the velvet rope and guard in front, in this case they dont even have a line in front to create the illusion of a packed club

they are a real mess

joe r

samson is right about games taking too long but here is the problem: he is not the guy to try and control it, it comes from rules changes so asking his team to try and speed it up is only going to make them distracted, redmond is already managing a weak team now he has to worry about speeding it up

david, fans will gladly come to the park for an extra 15 minutes if you do your part as management and put a quality product on the field. Please go to MLB with your speed up suggestions and lets get the rules changed and baseball will be better for it.

Larry Corman

I will not attend any games while the current
ownership group is running the team. I used
to be a Season Ticket holder (through my Firm)
and a Saturday Night package Season Ticket
holder and I will not watch another year of
stars being traded due to salary constraints
and minor leaguers trying to fill the holes.
If you can't afford major league star salaries
and plan to be nothing more than a farm
system for the competitive teams then please
sell the team. The Heat owners are purportedly
interested in buying and they will show you
how to run a major league franchise!

Norm

Can the Hurricanes get the stadium back. They should have never taken Miami out of there.

PEDRO J. GRIFOL

SELL THE TEAM AND I'LL GO TO AT LEAST 60 GAMES WILL NEVER BUY A TICKET FROM THESE CARPETBAGGERS SAMSON AND LORIA ARE SCUMBAGS!!!!!

Go gogo

19 bad feedback out of 19 comments

Why the league stands by while Loria destroys another franchise is beyond me. There is zero effort in wins, just profit. They found a hole in the system and they are squeezing it

All owners should be billionaire so a cheAp scumbag like Loria does not turn it into his own ATM , once again the league it's at fault here. They née to close the current hole by
the minimum payroll

PlAy faster? How about a better team, nobody looks at the clock when you are winning

Bunch of thieves

Benny Hill

I am planning on spending an entire day near Marlins park. Conservatively, the stadium has brought in 11 trillion dollars to the local area. I will be buying a Bentley at the Little Havana Bentley, Rolls Royce, Aston dealership. I will celebrate with a juicy steak at Ruths Chris on the corner of 8th and 8th. I will get my wifey a bauble at the stadium shopping zone at Tiffany's. What a day.

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