ON THE ROAD, SOMEWHERE IN ARIZONA -- This year, the Cubs have given season-ticket holders more than ever before as perks beyond just the tickets. In addition to the coolest season-ticket design in the major leagues, the Cubs enclosed the tickets in another collectible box. Inside the box was a special Topps-sponsored baseball card set exclusive to season-ticket holders along with a sheet explaining why each ticket design was chosen, a pack of Wrigley's gum that gives you a pleasant scent when opening the box, a personalized "W" flag, a ticket ledger and a season-ticket holder ID card that gives the STH discounts on merchandise items at Wrigley Field, along with coupons for further discounts. In addition, every Cubs season-ticket holder gets a subscription to Vine Line and access to presales for other Wrigley events, including concerts.
So that got me wondering: what perks do other teams offer? One thing I did learn in researching this article is that many teams that host exhibition games at their home stadiums require their season-ticket holders to buy those as part of their packages, some at regular-season prices, and at least one (the Giants) gives a discount off full price. You'd think that, given the large number of minor leaguers who play in those games, teams could give their STH a price break on practice games.
Here are summaries of various things that the 29 other major-league teams offer their season-ticket holders.
Yankees: Postseason ticket discount offer; Savings off the individual game ticket price; Unused Ticket Credit Program
Red Sox: No information available
Orioles: Season Plan Holders enjoy considerable savings over the cost of single game tickets. In fact, in some seating categories, the discount can be up to 25% off the cost of individual tickets! Plus, your exclusive discounted season rate is extended for any additional games you purchase (some restrictions may apply for prime games). Also, you'll never pay any per ticket fees. MLB's Most Flexible Exchange Policy: With 60 exchange dates available in 2013, you will enjoy the most flexible exchange policy in Major League Baseball. Tickets can be exchanged at the Box Office for any non-prime game. Your season tickets must be exchanged at least one business day prior to the date of the game you are returning and a desired exchange date is required. Free Admission to Area Museums: Your Orange Carpet Card will once again earn you great benefits beyond Oriole Park. Enjoy exclusive offers and special admission at the following Baltimore-area museums: Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum, Sports Legends at Camden Yards, Port Discovery Children's Museum, Geppi Entertainment Museum, and B & O Railroad Museum. Free FanFest Admission: You'll receive two complimentary tickets to the annual Orioles FanFest, which was held this year on January 19 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Free Spring Training Tickets in Sarasota: Visit Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota and receive free admission to select games Spring Training games.
Blue Jays: Save 20% on official team merchandise with a Season Ticket Holder Benefit Card. Enjoy no service charges and access to the best available inventory on additional tickets.
Rays: Discounted parking, advance sales
White Sox: Discounted tickets, prices down 30-40% from 2012. Free media guide.
Tigers: Season ticket holder discount (ranging from $31 to $1042 per package seat), food vouchers, ticket exchange program, discounted parking
Twins: "Significant" savings off individual game prices, discounts on merchandise from 10-20%, giveaway items mailed directly to STH
Indians: Discounted tickets, discounted parking, "Tribe Rewards" including memorabilia and autographed items
Royals: Discounts. Redemption program for unused tickets. Preferred reserved parking. Merchandise discounts.
Athletics: Savings of 30-60% off single game prices. Discount parking. 25% off merchandise. Exchange availability. Dedicated game day service staff.
Rangers: 15% discount on merchandise. 10% discount on additional tickets. Exchange availability.
Mariners: Discounts on tickets. 10% off on merchandise. Free media guide. Ticket presales, discounted parking. Exchange availability.
Angels: Preferred parking, discounted prices, presales.
Astros: Discounted pricing.
Braves: Discounts from 20-60% off single game prices. 33% off food and drink. Discounts on additional tickets. 10-20% off merchandise. Unused ticket redemption program for $5 per ticket.
Mets: Single game ticket discounts (no fees). Free tour. Presales for non-baseball events. Club access.
Nationals: Buy two, get two free. Until 3/31, fans could get 2013 tickets at 2012 prices.
Marlins: "Sit closer than ever". Seating upgrades. VIP event with player autographs. Presales, tours, discounts on food and merchandise.
Phillies: Discounts on all tickets. Exchange program. Early bird gift for paying in full (doesn't matter whether by check or credit card). Preferred parking.
Cardinals: "Significant" savings off single game prices. 35% coupon off team store (one time use), 10% off at other times. 50% off tours.
Pirates: Discounts compared to single-game tickets. Discounts on additional tickets. Discount at team store. Two free PirateFest tickets. Exchange availability. Bonus games available.
Reds: Discounts from 30-45% off single game prices.
Dodgers: Up to 64% off advance prices. Early entry. Discounted/preferred parking. 20-30% off merchandise. Non-game event ticket offers.
Giants: Season tickets sold out (29,250). $500 deposit (non-refundable) puts you on the wait list. Wait list people can buy Opening Day tickets if available. 20% discount coupon at team store. Current STH get presales for additional tickets, also for spring training and non-baseball events. Payment plans available. STH also get 20% off at team store.
Padres: "Significant" savings over single game prices (approximately 30%). Discounts on parking and at team store. Requires purchase of "Club Membership" –- tiered, which gives you discounts from corporate partners.
Diamondbacks: Discounts on food and merchandise (10-20%). Presales on baseball and non baseball events. Exchange availability. Upgrade availability.
Rockies: Up to 50% off regular ticket prices. Discounted parking. Discount at team store. Ticket exchange program.
As you can see, the Cubs have upgraded their perks over the last couple of years, to the point where they nearly match what most other teams give; the only difference I can see is that most teams are giving what they term "significant" discounts to season-ticket holders as compared to those buying single-game tickets. This only makes sense for those willing to give a financial commitment running to several thousand dollars before the season begins. I'm not writing this just because it would personally benefit me -- obviously, that's true -- but it would seem to be an enticement that would get many more people chosen from the waiting list to buy season tickets.