Bucs Beckon Pirates Season Ticket Sales Increase Tops Majors

By Sanserino, Michael | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), May 22, 2014 | Go to article overview

Bucs Beckon Pirates Season Ticket Sales Increase Tops Majors


Sanserino, Michael, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


The Pirates throw a party every year for first-year season ticket holders - rookies, as the team calls them - as a way to say thanks and build a stronger bond between the business and its customers.

This year the party was so big the Pirates had to move it outside.

More than 1,000 people reserved a spot for the shindig held Tuesday before a game against the Baltimore Orioles, as representatives of a 40 percent growth in the Pirates' season ticket base compared to last season. This week, the Pirates learned they had the largest percentage growth in season ticket holders of any Major League Baseball team this year.

The Pirates are proud of their achievement. But Drew Cloud, the team's executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, knows that kind of growth also will test the ticket sales team.

"If you look at this from a business perspective, this is a vulnerable group of customers," said Mr. Cloud, a Pittsburgh native who joined the club in April. "They're giving you a test drive."

And just like any would-be car buyer, season ticket-holders have a list of needs and wants.

At the top of that list, usually, is wins. And though the Pirates - who were 18-26 Wednesday - aren't necessarily playing the best baseball, Mr. Cloud believes they will field a good team moving forward.

"We think the team will be very competitive, and as long as this team is competitive, that's a great asset," he said.

It's not just season ticket sales where the Pirates have excelled. According to StubHub, an online ticket vendor owned by eBay, Pirates ticket sales were up 109 percent at the start of the season, compared to the start of the 2013 season.

StubHub measures demand in page views, sales volume and sales price, and StubHub spokeswoman Alison Salcedo said demand for the Pirates was up across the board heading into this season.

"It's a really great time if you're rooting for the Pirates, who haven't been quite as successful in 20 years," said Ms. …

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