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Old 05-02-2007, 10:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: Pirates name Bautista starting 3B

Well Tony, looks like that cute little "We Will" slogan is getting old.....

Pirates Notebook: Season-ticket sales dropped 20 percent

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

By Dejan Kovacevic
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wondering why the Pirates' attendance has fallen off?

Look no further than the foundation of the business.

The Pirates' sales of season tickets, a process that is pretty much complete after the opening month, is at 8,900 full-season equivalents and will finish at "approximately 9,000," according to Brian Chiera, senior director of marketing and sales. The previous year, that number was 11,320, spelling a 20 percent loss.

It takes two 40-game plans or four 20-game plans to make one full-season equivalent.

The drop is the most dramatic since 2002, the year after PNC Park opened -- the total was 17,062 in the record-setting inaugural season -- and the new number will be the lowest since 2004, when it was 7,752.

Team officials dismissed the decrease as the norm for any city immediately after playing host to an All-Star Game, and there is ample precedent to back that. In the Pirates' case, fans were assured of All-Star tickets by buying various season-ticket packages in the two years leading up to the game.

"Our season-ticket sales are where we had expected them to be based on what other teams have experienced in the year following the All-Star Game," Chiera said. "Our primary focus remains on marketing our young, improving team and promoting our individual and group ticket sales programs."

Group sales, Chiera said, are on pace to be better than either of the past two seasons.

The crowds so far reflects the downturn in season tickets: Through the first dozen games, despite two fireworks nights and two bobblehead giveaways, average attendance has been 17,602, compared to 22,401 at the same point a year ago. The average for 2006 ended up at 23,269.
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