"Citi Doesn't Sleep". This was the Newsday headline on 9/28, the day after our first group outing at Citi Field, the final home game of 2012. It was a Thursday day game, the team wasn't making the playoffs (again), and 560 of us still turned up to cheer on the team we love. 4 short years later, we just pulled off a playoff sale though the Mets website. Unfortunately, some of those same fans down since day 1 missed the chance to sit with us. That's really really bad.
We've now organized dozens of outings, and each one seems to be more popular than the last. This year 1,300 of us went to Yankee Stadium, 1,090 to Pittsburgh, 750 to Atlanta, 708 to Baltimore and 650 to Colorado. Each home game (9) we hold down 859 seats in Citi Field's "Big Apple Reserve". Most team supporters groups would die for this much loyalty. In baseball, there's none other like it. Don't get me wrong, it's an incredible feeling to have thousands of fans wanting to sit with our crew, but the demand can also lead to loyal members getting locked out and extremely frustrated. That anger is totally understandable, and I always feared this day eventually happen. Popularity keeps everything going, but it can also kill everything we've all worked so hard to build.
You and I have been dying to see the Mets back in a pennant race. 2006 is forever ago. When I walked out of Shea depressed after Beltran's strike out, I could have never imagined the next postseason game I'd watch in Flushing would be with 859 of you at Citi Field. That team seemed to be built for a nice little stretch, but we all know how that went.
Our game on 9/15 sold out in 30 minutes, the 10/4 game sold out in 1 minute and today all three NLDS games went in what seemed like seconds. It's great that the Mets and The 7 Line Army have that much support, but the popularity could totally kill the loyal factor. That's bad.
We are not in the ticket business. We are a clothing company 24/7/365 that also organizes a handful of outings. This year in total 14 games at both home and on the road were attended by The 7 Line Army. Next year we hope to do even more, but we definitely need a better system.
What happened today? The Mets were cool enough to sell NLDS tickets to just those fans who were on our previous customers list. That's incredibly awesome of them. Access codes were e-mailed to those customers and they had the opportunity to try and get tickets. Having a code didn't guarantee you'd get tickets, but everyone had the same shot at them. Fans were allowed to buy up to 4 tickets per game and we sent out enough codes to fill Citi Field more than two times. The odds were slim, but fans did get through, and in seconds they were gone. This is the nature of supply and demand.
What about those fans selling the tickets on Stub Hub? Unfortunately we can't stop anyone from trying to re-sell their tickets. This was supposed to be a fun section filled with just die hard fans. We offered up the access codes to our customers as a "thank you" for being down with us all these years. I guess money is just more important to some people. Out of the thousands of tickets that sold today, only a small handful are up. It's crummy, but there's not much we can do about it. At least its a very small percent. Ticket brokers did not have access to the codes. This sale was strictly for fans.
What's the idea to fix this? Next year I'd like to come out with our home schedule and offer the year as a season ticket. You'd get the same seat to every game and wouldn't need to fight the crowd to get individual game ticket access. We'd have a lot of logistics to figure out, but it should be a possibility. It's the best way to ensure that fans who really want to consistently sit with us all the time don't get locked out. If we potentially make the postseason, you'd be first on line to grab those seats too.We could possibly even offer a custom jersey to our members that you could only get by being one of our season ticket holders. One idea would be to add a patch to your sleeve with a "Since 2012" or whatever year was your first outing with us. It could be really cool if done right. For the road games, you'd get first crack at tickets before they went up on our site to the public.
Thank you for your continued support and loyalty to our brand and The 7 Line Army. We're doing our best over here. I promise to always do what's in my control to keep everything fun for us. It's really never my intention to ruin anyones day. Hopefully next season we have more options to honor your loyalty and make sure everything runs smoother. The 7 Line doesn't exist without you. We just had an idea, you all built it with us. Thank you.
If you're hitting the final home game on Thursday at Citi Field, swing by the Marina Lot to see some friends, maybe meet some new ones, and responsibly wash down your sorrows before heading inside.