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The Rays hold line on prices

The team announces some increases for 2001, but many tickets will be available for the same cost.

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 19, 2000


The Devil Rays expect to win more games in 2001 than they did this season, but they are keeping a majority of their ticket prices the same.

The Rays announced plans Wednesday to maintain the same prices for more than 60 percent of the seats at Tropicana Field while raising others from $1 to $35.

The average price for season tickets will go up 6 percent, from $13.24 to $14.03 a game, and the average price on an individual-game basis will increase 13 percent, from $15.82 to $17.86.

Essentially, prices of the better seats, on the lower and suite levels, have been raised and prices for upper-deck seats are unchanged.

"We've concentrated on keeping the more affordable tickets the same price since those seats are geared toward families," team vice president Rick Vaughn said.

The Rays say 64 percent of the seats on an individual-game basis will cost $14 or less, and 30 percent are $8 or less.

In trying to rebuild, or at least maintain, a season-ticket base that has shrunk from 21,500 to 13,500 to around 10,000, the Rays are offering something of an early-bird special.

Fans who buy or renew season tickets before Nov. 17 will pay the 2000 prices for any seating category, and those who pay in full by that date will get a 5 percent discount.

Most fans taking advantage of that offer will score something of a modern-day professional sports coup: Paying the same price, or less, for four consecutive seasons.

"We're going to have season-ticket customers paying the same price they were in 1998, and that's extraordinary in any business," Vaughn said. "It's our way of thanking the season-ticket holders for their support."

Among other changes, the Rays have expanded the program for season-ticket holders to exchange unused tickets, allowing trades for any Monday-Thursday game.

Partial season-ticket plans, with 22 games for the price of 20 and eight for the price of seven, again will be offered. Parking prices have not been set. Individual-game tickets will go on sale Feb. 10.

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