Professional baseball is turning to the subscription economy to bolster sales and fill stadiums.

WHAT HAPPENED: Both MLB and NBA franchises are facing smaller attendance at games, which they’re attempting to offset with new services aimed at a younger crowd.

Why it matters

  • A decrease in attendance has led some franchises such as the Marlins and the Yankees to downsize their stadiums; The Rays, for instance, will remove more than 6,000 seats at Tropicana Field to just 25,000. But other franchises are instead choosing to reconceptualize their real estate. Some stadiums are renovating their upper decks to replace seats with lounge areas and other ways for attendees to socialize. In addition, the New York Mets is now offering season tickets at $39 a month, which provides ticket holders with standing room at Citi Field in front of the concession stands for 78 games. The service also allows subscribers to upgrade to seats on weekday games.
  • Recently, sports venues have strived to improve the in-stadium viewing experience by broadcasting replays, providing direct-to-seat and on-demand food and beverage delivery from concessions and updating bathroom wait times on apps like VenueNext. Low-cost ticket subscriptions and stadium renovations are another way for sports franchises to attract fans, aiming to solve multiple problems simultaneously. For the Mets, it’s not just about filling up Citi Field, but also about winning over younger demographics who are more prone to view a game at home on TV with instant replay or even on social media where they can respond to the game and other viewers in real time. By providing new spaces for attendees to interact, the Mets are hoping that people will choose to watch the game with other fans in real life rather than on a screen.