After a season with fourth-worst attendance in SkyDome / Rogers Centre history, the Blue Jays are turning back to an old ticketing strategy: giving flexibility to their fans to build a ticket package of their choice.
Long-time readers of Bluebird Banter may recall of my love for the old 20-ticket pack and my disappointment at its loss at the end of the 2016 season. In the past few seasons, fans who chose to purchase ticket packages were required to select their games prior to the start of the season and were forced to purchase the same number of seats for each game of their package. As I often do not have my personal schedule planned months in advance or know exactly how many people with whom I will be going to a particular game, I never bought those rigid packs.
New 12+, 24+, 40+ Ticket Packs
The Blue Jays’ new ticket packs feature several features that are favourable to people like me:
- The per-ticket price of the packages are tiered at three levels with increasing discounts: small (12-23 tickets), medium (24-39 tickets), and large (40-80 tickets).
- The first 5,000 large packages sold will include access to Blue Jays home games in the 2020 Postseason—or in the likelihood of the Jays missing the playoffs, you can watch other teams through a complimentary MLB.tv subscription that comes with the large pack.
- Fans are buying tickets, not games. That means with a 24-ticket game, one can go to 24 games by oneself, 12 games with someone else, or one with five friends, six games alone, three as a couple, two as a couple with an awkward third wheel. A maximum of eight tickets can be redeemed for a single game, other than the Home Opener where the maximum is four.
- Tickets can be exchanged for another game for up to two hours prior to game time—that would likely means fans can consider the starting lineup before making their final decision on attendance. Prior to April 30, ticket changes are free other than any difference in ticket prices (the Blue Jays have also confirmed that 2020 tickets will again be subject to dynamic pricing), but after the “non-waiver” trade deadline, transactions will be subject to a $2 fee (and any ticket price difference). In previous iterations of ticket packs, the ticket exchange deadlines were either July 31 or April 1, with no possibility of exchange after those dates.
- After locking into a package, additional tickets may be purchased at a discount to the then-current ticket price (which again can fluctuate due to dynamic pricing). Tickets 24-39 will receive a 5% discount, tickets 40 and above will receive a 10% discount.
- There are additional perks like discount coupons for the Jays Shop that can be read in detail here.
It does not appear that actual ticket prices for these packages have been released yet, but the Blue Jays website does feature a new seating map that shows that Rogers Centre will be divided into over 17 different price areas.
Most notably, the majority of the sections will be divided into at least two price levels—three in the 500’s. I am nostalgic for the days when the entire 500-level fell into one price level. It also looks like the Jays are not selling tickets in the outfield sections of the 500’s or the premium 100-level seats as part of these ticket packs.
The Blue Jays have also released the game times of all their home games in 2020. Here are some notes:
- The season / home opener is at 3:37 pm on Thursday, March 26 against the Red Sox. Count on the roof to be closed for this one.
- This year’s experiment with 3:07 pm Saturday games must have been a success as all Saturday games in 2020 will start at that time. This works better than 1:07 games for fans like me who want to both sleep in a little and run some errands before a weekend game.
- There are four opportunities to watch a Blue Jays—Bisons doubleheader The Blue Jays play a Canada Day home game at 1:07 pm against the White Sox while the Bisons play at 7:05 against Lehigh Valley at 7:05 pm. The next day, the minor league game starts at 1:05 while the major league game starts at 7:07 pm. If you are hardcore enough of a baseball fan you can watch four games in two days! The third possibility is on August 5 when the Blue Jays play the Rays at 12:37 pm and the Bisons play the Red Wings at 7:05 pm. The final opportunity is on August 27 with a 1:05 pm tilt between the Bisons and the Iron Pigs and a 7:07 pm affair between the Jays and the A’s.
- The holiday game on August 3 is scheduled for 3:07 pm.