Germán Márquez and Kyle Freeland made their spring debuts earlier this week. Jon Gray will return to the mound in a few days. Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon appeared in the Cactus League within the past week, and the subsequent workload for most every big leaguer will increase as Opening Day approaches.
As if tickets weren’t expensive enough already: prices may skyrocket even more as the workloads keep climbing. The Rockies have already sold out their 2021 spring ticket allotment, but prices on third-party sites like StubHub have been on the rise since spring training began.
Ticket prices in a standard year: The premiums and the bargains
In a normal, full-capacity spring training, the Phoenix valley will sell tickets across 10 ballparks that can house anywhere between 7,000-15,000 fans. Tickets on the east side of Phoenix are often sold at a premium compared to the Cactus League counterparts to the west.
Ticket prices in Scottsdale, the east-of-Phoenix spring home for the Giants, Rockies and Diamondbacks, are often among the most expensive (just like the real estate the city stands on). The Cubs have the newest ballpark in Arizona, and their 2016 championship made tickets at Sloan Park even more coveted. Prices for the nearby Angels in Tempe will also overshadow the ballparks to the west.
Meanwhile, two teams from Ohio share a ballpark in Goodyear. Making the trek across two time zones is far more difficult than a trip from Denver, and attendance at Goodyear Ballpark can often reflect a limited number of traveling fans from Cleveland and Cincinnati. The Rangers and Royals share a venue in Surprise, the furthest spring park from central Phoenix (and also a distance from Kansas City and Arlington), and the park offers free parking—perhaps in hopes that people will drive all the way out there.
If you look to do spring training on a budget, the West Valley parks are often the most favorable. Dodger ticket prices at Camelback Ranch are often steep on StubHub, but nothing rivals the intimate confines of Scottsdale Stadium where Giants tickets may as well be printed on gold.
Ticket prices in a COVID year: Premiums everywhere
Each park is operating at limited capacity this year, which drives up the cost by default.
Most venues in the Cactus League offer tickets this year in groups of two, four or six. The socially-distant configuration can make it difficult for fans to find desired seats on third-party sites, especially if an odd number of fans in the same party want to sit together.
A 2020 World Series crown for the Dodgers is more than enough reason for prices at Camelback Ranch — a West Valley park — to jump. The high hopes of the San Diego Padres suggest a spike in ticket prices at Peoria Stadium too, another venue on the west side. March is a common time for spring break in many schools, and while baseball fans may be less inclined to travel this year, even a spring break for Phoenix residents will up the weekday demand.
The regular season to come
Plenty of fans appear eager to watch the Rockies in spring training, as prices for available tickets on StubHub will indicate. The trend will presumably continue at Coors Field operating at 25 percent capacity, and if spring history holds true, regular season ticket prices are only going to increase.
Coors Field checks all of the aforementioned boxes: limited capacity, NL West opponents, and soon-to-be vacations once summer arrives. Mix in a one-year hiatus of any gathering at 20th and Blake, and the demand is there for tickets to 1. sell out quickly, and 2. skyrocket in price on third-party sites.
In other words, if you’re fortunate enough to buy tickets through the Rockies ‘insider’ sales before regular season tickets go to the public, it may be your best shot at going to a game.
(At the very least, re-selling them could yield a solid return.)
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Kyle Freeland made his spring debut Monday afternoon, holding the Reds to just two hits and a walk over his three innings on the mound. Ex-Rockie Jeff Hoffman collected three scoreless innings of his own with the Reds.
The top of the 4th was the difference maker in this contest. Ryan Castellani came on in relief of Freeland; in four hitters, he walked three of them and hit the other. The mound at Salt River Fields has been a lonely place for Castellani dating back to Wednesday, after he allowed four earned runs in his two-inning spring debut.
Offensively: Elías Díaz and Sam Hilliard had two-hit afternoons, while Jameson Hannah’s 7th inning blast accounted for three of Colorado’s four runs.
Here’s where all 30 MLB teams stand regarding fan attendance in 2021 | Bleed Cubbie Blue (SB Nation, Chicago Cubs)
The Cardinals currently have the highest percent-capacity allowed for 2021 home games, at 32 percent of Busch Stadium. The Rockies are at the median mark, allowing 25 percent inside Coors. The Nationals are currently not allowed to host fans, and the Blue Jays aren’t even allowed in their home country to begin the year. Toronto will open the regular season at their spring training home in Florida, and will distribute a limited number of tickets.
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