Ticket sales on upswing


moneyThe first across-the-board price hike in a decade so far has not slowed Pirates ticket sales. The team already has sold a higher equivalent of full-season plans than it did a year ago. The Pirates have been hawking season-ticket plans since last fall; single-game tickets went on sale about six weeks ago at PirateFest. After last season, the average price of a ticket increased from $15.30 to $16.11. Season tickets for lower infield box seats went up by $4 per game. The cost of a seat behind the dugouts went up $10 to $45.

“Our fans’ renewed excitement for Pirates baseball has resulted in solid sales so far this winter,” President Frank Coonelly said via email. “Renewals are pacing well but new sales are driving the growth as they are already well ahead of where we ended 2011. The full-season value plans have been particularly popular and we are nearly sold out of value plans (limited to 500 in each price category) in three of the value-plan price categories. Individual sales and group sales are also trending well, despite the fact that the is no Red Sox series (at PNC Park) this year. The staff has much work left to do in order to meet our goals for 2012, but it is off to a solid start.”

We’ll have to take his word for it. As usual, Coonelly provided no specific data to support his statement, as the Pirates do not release their ticket information. Chief marketing officer Lou DePaoli deferred questions about ticket sales to Coonelly.

»»» Here’s an interesting crystal ball look at the Pirates’ 2013 payroll by Tim Williams of Pirates Prospects. BTW, if you have more than a passing interest in the ballclub’s minor leaguers, you might want to pick up Tim’s 2012 Prospect Guide.

»»» The Pirates have not yet officially announced it, but they’ve signed pitcher Daniel Cabrerra to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. The 30-year-old righty had a couple of OK seasons with the Orioles, but hasn’t started a game in the majors since 2009.

»»» And, in case you missed it, another ex-Pirate has signed with a NL Central team. Lefty Zach Duke got a minor league deal and spring training invitation from the Astros.