Klein’s Korner – Making Sure The Hobby Stays Inclusive

Klein's Korner - Making Sure The Hobby Stays InclusiveKlein’s Korner – Making Sure The Hobby Stays Inclusive – Living in the DFW area, one has access to all professional sports and some beautiful places to watch those games. Now some people could argue there was no need to create a new stadium for the Texas Rangers when Globe Life Park is only 25 years old and still a beautiful place to watch a game. However, because of the lack of a retractable roof and how long the Rangers games tend to be and how insufferably hot Arlington can be there is a legitimate need for a new venue.  In today’s world, any building costs a ton of money to build and usually built on the backs of average people such as you and I.

In deciding what to charge for seats in the new palatial digs the Rangers heard one request more than any other which was: “please don’t have what are called Personal Seat Licenses. (PSL).” This article explains some of the reasons teams use PSL’s and why the average fan can’t afford those.

Since the Rangers would not use PSL’s in the new stadium, they felt their only option was to explode season ticket prices. A friend of mine, who takes me to 1-2 games a year and for which I’m always grateful, is part of a plan of eight tickets three rows behind the visiting dugout and I believe two or four tickets down the first base side. I reached out to the man whose names are on the seats and coordinates the group and mentioned I had heard about the price increase and was wondering what he was gong to do. The answer was: If we wanted to keep the same seats in the new ballpark the outlay would go from $150K to $350K for the season ticket plan. He said even Goldman Sachs was moving their tickets to a more affordable price level. If Goldman Sachs thinks the tickets are too expensive, they probably are. Read the article.

Yes, that’s a lot of money and yes a lot of people are part of the group but the current number scares some people away and can you imagine what the new number would be for those tickets per game. As was explained to me, the current price for 2 tickets is the same as a dinner for him and his wife at “Nick and Sam’s” which is a high level steakhouse in Dallas. Thankfully, he likes to go to games and is fine with the expense but that’s difficult for many of us already to be willing to pay for a game.

Now I’ve eaten at Nick and Sam’s exactly once and it was wonderful but expensive. This is a place to go to if someone comes in for the annual Baseball Winter Meetings and has an expense account to take you

Of course, most of us have a shared interest in the success of collectible sports cards, having to sit in cheaper seats in a new sparkling ballpark is a minor matter for about 98 percent of all fans. We will all figure out what games we can afford and wish to go to and deal with our budget accordingly.

Now, doesn’t that sound like sports cards for many of us. There are those of us who loved the Topps Total brand of 15 or so years ago because we got chances to get cards of players who might not always be featured in base sets.

The best news about Topps Total was the boxes were very affordable and although several boxes were needed for a set, the low cost per box made filling in the set an inexpensive pleasure and easy to deal with for anyone on a reduced card budget. This is similar to sitting in the cheaper seats in a new ballpark and you can still walk around the ballpark even with the cheaper seats and see many of the attractions because you paid to enter.

Sadly, the new Topps Total will not be as customer friendly on a price point as the old Topps Total. Here is the information from Topps’ website.

What card companies sometimes forget is the success of any past product, especially one which built it’s reputation on being a collectible set should be kept for the updated version. Those previous collectors of Topps Total did not chase insert cards nor did they care if cards were printed to low serial numbers so why re-invent the wheel for the 2019 version? Now this is a percentage price increase far more than 2020 Texas Rangers tickets.

What is wonderful about our hobby is we are a living hobby and when you see a player such as Patrick Mahomes explode last football season or Peter Alonso getting off to a great start this baseball season makes us wants to get onto the hot player train.  As long as I’ve been in the hobby, we’ve always wanted as a group the latest greatest pack and the hottest players. I can tell stories about the kids at H&H Hobbies in Garfield, NJ leaving 1985 cards on the counter because all they were interested in were people such as Dwight Gooden or Eric Davis. Some great cards would be left on the counter because there was no immediate gratification. So today products such as Panini Flawless satiate our interest in latest and greatest cards. All those beautiful cards  Look at this Babe Ruth card and tell me how you could not want to own such a card if you had the wherewithal to do so.

So we as hobby dealers and veterans have to understand, and this is a truly difficult concept for many of us to comprehend is we need to be as courteous to the people who come into our shops and spend their $20 at a time as well as those who can break a full case of whatever product hit this week. Both groups of collectors are equally important and while we make our living from the group of people spending the big dollars, the far larger group are also people to keep in mind as the Texas Rangers will discover around 2022 or so. By then, the new stadium magic will wear off and I would wager most games will be played in front of tons of empty seats.  We do not want empty seats, we just want to remain busy with all our levels of customers and remember not everyone can afford more than a double of what they currently pay for their cards.

For more from Rich Klein, follow him on Twitter @sabrgeek.

Klein’s Korner – Making Sure The Hobby Stays Inclusive
Rich Klein