Reporting David Sutta
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Crews are polishing the Marlins Ballpark, prepping for a second season in Little Havana. Opening day will be historic for the team, especially how they fill the seats.
The struggling ball club has turned to the discount site GroupOn to help sell tickets to even the home opener.
For $20 dollars you get: a seat for opening night against the Atlanta Braves; a ticket to another game in April or May; and a $10 merchandise voucher.
“Never once have I ever heard of a team having their home opener on Groupon,” Sports radio host Andy Slater told CBS4.
Slater brought up the Marlins Groupon offer on his afternoon talk show on 640AM. The Marlins Groupon is making a splash among baseball fans hurt from Marlins fire sales and bad PR moves. Many callers were in disbelief.
“It’s a sad day for Marlins,” one fan said.
Another suggested the Marlins go a step further.
“Instead of Groupons why don’t they just go ahead and open the gates and eventually just let people come in free and see what happens,” the caller said.
Slater explained he’s never heard of a home opener being discounted.
“A home opener in Major League Baseball is supposed to be a special day where you barely have to promote it. It promotes itself. Its a home opener. People go,” Slater said.
When asked about the offer, the Marlins issued a statement saying, “It is our priority to ensure that the excitement and energy of Major League Baseball and of the award-winning Marlins Park, remain cost-effective and accessible to all families throughout the South Florida community. The Marlins, along with many sports teams throughout the country, have used and will continue to use Groupon along with other social marketing sites to help accomplish that goal. In addition, as usual, fans may also benefit from special promotions and deals available at http://www.marlins.com.”
The Marlins are not the first team to use Groupon for baseball ticket sales. In November, Major League Baseball announced a partnership with Groupon to sell tickets. The Marlins used Groupon to sell tickets to the World Baseball Championship games played earlier this month.
The Marlins, after fees, appear to be losing money on the deal. Still sales are dragging. More people would rather buy Groupons for sushi, having their dog washed, or having fat sucked out of their rear than go to the game.
Slater suggests that maybe the Marlins should become a bandwagon University of Miami basketball fan. The team made the Sweet 16 over the weekend. If they continue to win, the title game would actually be played on the Marlin’s opening night.
“If they go to the National Title game, instead of putting the Braves and Marlins on the field let’s have a watch party. Put the University of Miami title game up on the big screen and you’ll have a lot of people there.” Slater said.
Even if the Marlins sell out their home opener, they still have 80 more games to figure out how to fill up their stadium.
Things have gotten so bad for the Marlins and their ticket sales; the team is offering a Groupon deal for up to half off opening day tickets. The Marlins are even offering merchandise vouchers and free tickets to another game if fans buy opening day tickets.