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DODGERS FYI

Price of season tickets remains the same

The Dodgers will freeze the cost for the second year in a row, but the price for some popular single games is expected to increase.

October 02, 2009|Bill Shaikin

If you buy season tickets from the Dodgers, you won't pay more next year. If you buy tickets for a game here and there, you might.

The Dodgers lead the National League in attendance, and they are on the verge of winning back-to-back division championships for the first time in 31 years, but they have nonetheless decided to freeze the price of season tickets for the second consecutive year.

The Dodgers are expected, however, to raise single-game prices for the most popular home dates next season. Club President Dennis Mannion said the team is evaluating how it might charge the most for the games most in demand -- big games, perhaps, or bobblehead nights -- rather than charge the same price for every game.

The Angels, for instance, add $7 or $12 to the cost of individual tickets for games on opening day, July 4 and against the Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

The best seats at Dodger Stadium -- in the Dugout Club, immediately behind home plate -- are sold on multiyear contracts, not as season tickets. The Dodgers have significantly raised the price on many contracts up for renewal.

Bob Daly, the club president before Fox sold the team to Frank and Jamie McCourt, said he does not plan to renew his contract for four seats in the second row. He said the Dodgers raised his annual fee from $130,000 to $200,000, which averages to about $617 per seat, per game.

"It's not that they're raising prices," Daly said. "They're entitled to do that. They're raising them a staggering amount of money. There's an insensitivity about the whole thing."

Mannion said the Dodgers had included "a big escalator" on contracts for seats in the first three rows, in part because contracts that had expired last year had been subject to similar increases.

The Yankees charged $2,500 for similar seats in their new stadium this year, then cut the price to $1,250 after television cameras kept showing blocks of empty seats behind home plate.

In talking with fans that sit near him at Dodger Stadium, Daly said he is aware of 50 seats in the first three rows that might not be renewed. That could put the Dodgers at risk for similar shots of empty seats next season, but Mannion said the team is confident the seats can be sold and does not plan to cut prices, as the Yankees did.

Dodgers could top baseball in attendance

The Dodgers are expected to finish the season as baseball's leaders in home attendance.

With three home dates remaining, the Dodgers' cumulative season attendance total is at 3,601,611. That is second only to the Yankees, who are at 3,719,358 and finish the season on the road.

Mannion said the Dodgers are expecting crowds of more than 50,000 fans tonight and on Saturday.

While front-office officials explained last winter that payroll would be cut to offset the effect that the weak economy could have on attendance, the Dodgers could end up drawing more fans this year than it did last.

The Dodgers drew 3,730,750 fans last season, when their payroll was around $120 million. Their payroll this year was around $90 million.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

Times staff writer Dylan Hernandez contributed to this report.

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