Could The Fenway Principle Work For Diamondbacks Ownership?  

Does size matter? 

It appears that is all quiet on the Arizona Diamondbacks front in the franchise ownership’s quest to find land for a new baseball park somewhere in the Phoenix metropolitan area. There is no talk of moving the business to Las Vegas. Diamondbacks ownership has eight years left on a 30-year deal to play in downtown Phoenix. That doesn’t mean the Diamondbacks’ owners are just sitting around and watching the calendar. According to an interview with Forbes.com, the Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall thinks downtown Phoenix may not be such a bad place after all. The franchise owners may decide to build a new facility somewhere in the downtown as part of a stadium-village. That is going on elsewhere in the sports industry. In Major League Baseball, the Boston Red Sox ownership has bought land around Fenway Park and is developing it. The plan includes building an amphitheater to make the Fenway Park area a year-round destination. A new Diamondbacks stadium could follow the Fenway Park example. Reduce the number of seats which will inevitably change the composition of the consumer base.

Bill Sutton, a sports economics consultant, coined the phrase the “Fenway Principle,” to describe how a ballpark and or an arena with a reduced seating capacity can create a shortage of tickets, forcing customers to purchase tickets months in advance if they want to attend a game. Red Sox tickets have become subject to the law of supply and demand. If you want a ticket you better buy it in advance and be willing to pay up front a pretty good price because of scarcity. Tickets are available on the secondary market but a team owner wants to sell tickets in advance and not deal with a walk-up crowd. Diamondbacks ownership seems to know what it wants but finding a stadium-village spot then figuring out the financing are obstacles.

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
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