Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports that Mets ticket sales are up slightly, but that in somewhat contradictory fashion, their TV ratings are down, despite a surprising 15-11 start.
Sandomir says that after two collapses followed by five straight losing seasons there is so much apathy within the fan base that many of those fans “will not be instantly overcome.”
According to the report, the number of tickets sold through 16 dates is up 3.4 percent to 27,058 a game, a nice lift after a steady decline since 2009.
Meanwhile ratings at SNY has fallen another four percent to about 180,000 viewers per game, which suggests how much work the Mets still have to do to get all of their fans on board again.
On Wednesday, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York posted five suggestions on how the Mets could win back the fans. It was in response to a letter from the team asking fans to sign a petition pledging their loyalty, which was not received very well and many believed was a ploy to get more emails for marketing ticket sales. Here are his suggestions:
5. Stop embarrassing yourselves. The letter might have yielded some new contacts for ticket salesmen, but it came off as amateurish. Which is how the Mets come off far too often. Feel secure and stop overreacting to little things.
4. Embrace your history. Mookie Wilson clearly opened a nerve within the organization when he described himself as a “hood ornament” in his newly released memoir.
We all know the Mets had to be dragged kicking and screaming into adorning Citi Field with blue and orange and into adding a team museum after the first season in the new ballpark.
The Mets recently wore seven different jerseys in seven games, including military fatigues. No one is saying don’t honor the military, but you wouldn’t see the Yankees eschewing their tradition to wear camouflage. Many fans cynically viewed it as a money grab.
3. Spend money to make money. Want to energize your fan base? Spend some damn money. That doesn’t mean doling out six- and seven-year contracts. How much better would the current team be with the likes of even modest additions, such as Stephen Drew, Joel Hanrahan, LaTroy Hawkins and others who would only bring the payroll to a still-modest $110 million or $120 million rather than its current $86 million?
2. Play the kids. This is not a slam against 40-year-old Bobby Abreu. He may very well help the Mets win games. But there was a myth forever in these parts that you couldn’t build from within. Play Juan Lagares. Bring up Jacob deGrom. Stop looking at arbitration clocks and give the fans what they want to see.
1. Win. If you’re a kid growing up now, sure your parents may indoctrinate you into the family tradition of being a Mets fan. But for the independent thinkers, the Mets are losing a whole generation of followers because of their lack of success.
In the end, winning is all that matters and would go a long way to restoring the fan base. However, winning also requires investing in the team, a perception that the team is dedicated to a youth movement which is what attracts new fans as well, and better overall decision-making across the board.