Day at Shea remains affordable
Transportation, ticket deals highlight Mets park's final season
NEW YORK -- Whether it's a father taking a son, or a mother taking a daughter, or a boyfriend taking a girlfriend, the Mets want to see fans line the ticket counters at Shea Stadium during its final season.
For more than 44 years, the stadium has represented a summer holiday for many New Yorkers. And even with the recent economic downturn, including gas prices that are soaring above $4 per gallon, those in the Mets' marketing department see no reason why you shouldn't be able to make it out to the ballpark for its last hurrah.
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"The goal of every team in the business, just like every concert, is to sell out the place," said a Mets spokesperson, who wished to remain anonymous so he could stay "behind the scenes."
What isn't much of a secret is that sports and much of the entertainment business is not as susceptible to the peaks and valleys of the economy. So far this season, the Mets have sold 3.4 million tickets, which has put them on pace to easily shatter the 3.8 million they sold all of last season.
One of the contributing factors to Shea Stadium's accessibility to its fans is New York's public transit system, which is why the Mets have teamed up with the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and other regional transportation outlets to make riding the subway or bus cheaper -- not only when you take the ride -- but once you get to the front gates of the stadium, as well.
Does saving more money because you saved time not sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic sound good to you? It does to the Mets, as during a select 20 games for each train company, the Mets will actually give you a $10 discount on Mezzanine Reserved seats, or a $5 markdown on Upper Box seats, if you ride the Long Island Railroad (LIRR), MTA and Metro North trains.
A MetroCard, which swipes you onto any means of mass transit, can carry anywhere from $4 to $80 on a per-ride basis, and it'll cost $4 roundtrip. Also, there are options like the "1-Day Fun Pass," which will cost $7.50, but allows you to swipe an unlimited amount of rides until 3 a.m. ET the next day.
The "7" train's second-to-last stop, the Willets Point/Shea Stadium stop, will take you directly to the stadium's right field. Really, go down the stairs and all that is between you and a gap in the bleachers is a couple of windows.
It's easy to get to the purple No. 7, because it connects to the blue "E," orange "F" and "V," the green "G," and the yellow "N/W/R." Also, the diamond-shaped "7" train runs express on game days, which will get you to the ballpark even faster. Does a 25-minute subway ride from Times Square to the stadium sound about right to you?
"The fact that Shea Stadium is best served by public transportation makes it cheaper, greener and more efficient to get to the game," the Mets spokesperson said.
Also, at most games, unless you are talking about the "Subway Series" vs. the Yankees, finding tickets isn't usually a problem. The Mets are offering 700,000 seats during 34 different games in the upper rows for as low as $5-10. And as long as you aren't talking about field-level box seats, prices are never more than $74. Even so, "value" field box seats now listed at $49 are down to $38 a pop.
On many occasions, you can even get "Mets Money," with many packages to sweeten the deal. This specially designed Shea Stadium currency is good at any restaurant, food or beverage stand in the park, and it comes in $1, $5 and $10 bills.
And if that isn't enough, along with the game itself, giveaways are a constant at the park to add an extra incentive. For example, during three straight games vs. the Yankees from June 27-29, the Mets will be passing out free hats to the crowd. Also, are you still stretching for that Father's Day gift? Well, on Sunday, June 15, the first 25,000 male fans will be given a Father's Day Travel Mug.
"You can come to a Mets game for less than the price of a movie ticket," said the anonymous man behind the Wizard-of-Oz-like walls of Shea. "We prove that we can continue to provide accessible tickets at an affordable price."
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.