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Dodgers abruptly raise season-ticket prices by as much as 140%

When the Dodgers announced late Friday that they had put an "extremely limited" number of season tickets on sale, they did not say they had imposed significant price increases on nearly every one of those tickets.

The Dodgers now are charging as much as 140% more than the season price set last fall. They increased the price in each of the 20 ticket categories made available Friday, and by at least 50% in 10 of them.

David Siegel, the Dodgers' vice president of ticket sales, said the new prices reflected what he called "unprecedented" demand for tickets. In the announcement Friday, the Dodgers said available tickets would start at $12 per game, which Siegel said constituted adequate disclosure of the price hikes "although we didn't spell it out."

The Dodgers had sold season tickets for as low as $5 per game. The team website used the term "new season price," but the old prices were not listed.

"We were trying to be transparent," Siegel said.

While it is common for a pro sports team to raise prices on season tickets each year, it is highly unusual for a team to raise those prices twice within a year. Among the price hikes: field box MVP from $75 per game/$6,150 for the season to $100/$8,200; infield loge box value from $26/$2,132 to $40/$3,280; and preferred reserve value from $5/$410 to $12/$984.

"That just comes down to the demand, how quickly our seats are flying out the door," Siegel said.

Siegel acknowledged that some fans had expressed unhappiness over the price increases as well as the inability to buy additional seats for an existing account at the original prices.

One fan provided The Times with correspondence from the Dodgers on consecutive days last week, the first email inviting him to upgrade at Dodger Stadium on Friday, the second saying no new season seats would be available. The fan said he was dismayed to see additional seats made available late Friday, but only at the increased prices.

In a typical year, Siegel said, the Dodgers can sell 3,000 to 5,000 seats based on fans declining to renew season tickets. With a renewal rate exceeding 98% this year, he said, the Dodgers could not accommodate fans wishing to add season seats or upgrade from a partial-season package. If all those fans were accommodated at the original prices, he said, the Dodgers would not have enough ticket inventory for individual and group sales.

"We always try to take care of our season-seat holders," Siegel said. "We've learned a lot from the process. As always, we continue to strive to be better."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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