Les Levine on Indians attendance, Browns stadium changes and more – WFNY Podcast – 2013-07-30

WFNY Podcast LogoIt’s always a love-fest when I get Les Levine on the podcast. I won’t even apologize for it. We discussed the Indians attendance, the perception of the Dolan family and the latest Browns announcements that came out yesterday.

  • When was the last time Les was nervous for a shift on radio?
  • Les’ history in the radio business after Ohio State
  • Jasper Indiana near French Lick Indiana
  • Les’ career playing with the Jasper Red semi-pro baseball club
  • Cleveland Indians attendance discussion
  • The hatred of the Dolans and whether it’s fair or not
  • Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti and whether or not they get a fair shake from fans anymore
  • Matt LaPorta was a really desirable commodity
  • The Cleveland Indians need to make the playoffs
  • It’s all about playoff appearances
  • Browns tailgating culture and how the Browns are going to attack that
  • Happy hour in order to get fans in earlier
  • The really “off-the-rails” fans
  • The new Browns executives and how they’re not from Cleveland at all
  • The drum corps but not the cheerleaders

Check out this episode

  • At no point in the Browns’ recent struggles have fans felt like ownership wasnt doing whatever it took to win—hiring, firing, trades, etc. If Lerner did anything when he was here, he threw money at every problem that crept up. The same cannot be said for the Dolans, regardless of why.

  • Harv 21

    exactly right. Randy’s ownership was incompetent, but fans better tolerate well-meaning incompetence than the Dolans’ inability to finance needed improvements and their seeming quite sanguine while farm system production ground to a halt. Both owners came in not understanding the business, but one left fans feeling there was no means to climb out.

  • Captain Kidd

    Indians attendance can be somewhat blamed on them. A group of us a few weeks back met up
    downtown to hit the Indians/Twins game on a Friday night. By the time we got situated it was about an
    hour. Not a big deal but Kluber was
    pitching great and the game was already 5 innings in. Well the cheapest tickets they had was $24. Laughable because the stadium was half pool. So they lost $240 on tickets alone and
    whatever we would have spent on beer/food in the stadium which would probably
    double that.

  • Captain Kidd

    half full…

  • Harv 21

    just out of curiosity, what amount per ticket for a major league baseball game would you have considered reasonable under the circumstances? I don’t mean this sarcastically at all, just curious. It seems ok to me when sitting in a half-empty movie theater on a Friday night will cost almost half that ticket price, and you can wait until the same movie shows up on netflix.

  • Bobby

    10-12 bux. The same price they sell the ticket for a week out

    Jack me once I might pay because I bothered to gather up and go down.

    Double or triple or even quadruple me up. I will never make that ‘game time’ decision again.

    And they wonder why the stadium is 3/4 empty

    You are selling a product barely any one wants. I have a brilliant idea….the ticket we were telling everybody was a super deal at 10 bux. We will charge em 27 when they finally show up to buy it.

  • CaptainKidd

    Whatever is available.


    Another case is I have two kids. Six and four.
    I would love to take them to more Indians games but when I go with them,
    I don’t really watch that much of the game.
    How motivated am I to spend $100 on JUST tickets to a game? I am not, espeially with the other costs…

  • Steve

    Ugh, there are $10 seats available. But just like anywhere else you look for entertainment, you can’t wait until the last minute if you want to get the best deal.

    And when the tickets were cheaper earlier in the year, no one was taking advantage of the price.

  • Steve

    On August 11, you can get four seats for $48, and your kids can go run the bases after the game.

  • Steve

    So the problem is that fans don’t understand the economics of each sport? But the fans hated it whenever the Indians mentioned the economics.

  • bobby

    and even less are “taking advantage” of the price when you multiply it by 3.

    Stop questioning crowds of 15,000 when you go out of your way to tell walk up crowds you don’t want their business.

    The casino is 100 yards away, they will take your 10 bucks and you will feel less ripped off. Go get 3 beers at the harry buffalo and watch it on the High Def TV and then have 3 for the price of 1 inside the ballpark.

    they completely destroyed all the good will they built with their 1-2-3-4 plan by jacking tickets at game time….and completely shutting down the sale of the upper deck cheap seats.

    It isn’t just that the 10 dollar ticket is 14 on game day…you also cant buy that one, the cheapest one is 25 or 32.

    fungible products get cheaper as their expiration date approaches.

    If you couldn’t sell them ahead of time for 10 you can’t sell them as they are about to become worth 0 for 3 times that.

    You want to control your cost of labor…sell nothing game day. You would be better off, no sticker shock when I have to pay 27 bux for a 7 dollar ticket.

    Only staff will call windows.

    IF we were selling out or even selling 30k a game this might sort of make sense. lowest attendance in the majors? lets keep people away in droves.

  • bobby

    And if you cant commit until game day?

    those $12 seats wont be for sale and your bill just doubled or tripled

    how many times you signing up for that nonsense? once at most.

    Good luck with that. The people are voting with their dollars and their feet. They are staying away in droves.

    contender in august….fun team…fun to watch…good pitching….clutch hitting…..

    no fans.

    hmmmmm perhaps my pricing stragery is off a bit?

    OR lets play a little game of “blame the customer”

    if they aint buying your product…it aint them….it is you.

    I would have normally gone to 10-20 games by this time.

    I have been to 3. We have completely eliminated the “lets go to the game today” decision.

    I am not paying double or triple the price of yesterday for the Royals on a Wed. NOT GOING TO DO IT…and it would seem that more people are on my side than yours.

    So free tix, or the partial season package I buy with friends or if I know a week ahead of time that I want to go to a particular game because I have out of town friends in…then maybe.

    but maybe not because they have pissed me off with this “hey they airlines can screw their customers” lets try that.

    Cost uncertainty is a massive deterrent..

  • Steve

    Here’s the actual problem “27 bux for a 7 dollar ticket.”

    You want to pay minor league prices to see a major league contender. Sorry buddy, that isn’t going to happen, anywhere. Indians ticket prices are a steal compared to the rest of the league.

    And this idea of driving fans away is laughably false. Fans stayed away when prices were even lower and stable. No matter what the Indians do, there’s always some new excuse.

  • Steve

    If you can’t commit until gameday, then you pay a premium for buying that time to wait. I’m not sure what you find so offensive about that.

    And no one is blaming the customer.

    Your complaining seems to suggest that the team shouldn’t even offer $10 tickets, as that suggests to fans that the watching a contending team down the stretch isn’t worth that much, despite what fans across the nation are saying. If all bleacher seats were $20, then the uppers don’t seem that high anymore, and the Indians still have some of the cheapest tickets in the majors in every part of the park.

  • Bobby

    I give you an incredibly plausible explanation why the prog sees 15,000 fans when it should arguably be more

    You just want to argue with me about it.

    They sold us on 1-2-3-4 and 10 buck tickets

    Except when you show up to buy them the aren’t for sale

    The old bait and switch. I don’t care ( and nobody else seems to) that 3x what you told me the cost was going to be is a value

    It is 3x what I was expecting

    And it doesn’t matter what you think the value is. The customers don’t agree.

  • Steve

    They didn’t promise $10 tickets for any and everyone who shows up. $10 was not, and were never advertised as, the value of a game. It was a special opportunity for people who have tighter budgets, and were willing to make some sacrifices, like planning and purchasing well in advance, to still go see a game.

    Again, it seems like they can assuage all your issues by just not offering any cheap tickets to you.

  • Harv 21

    Often found you a little dogmatic on the attendance issue, Steve, but I think we agree on a basic point here. When they were selling out entire seasons bleacher seats were cheap ($12? $8?) there were no impulse purchase opportunities at all. Even without adjustment for inflation between then and now it seems there’s been a sea-change in what local fans are willing to pay to watch a competitive team. It’s sincere, it’s a legit change in opinion (not “excuses”; no potential customer owes an entertainment company anything). My question is why. Loss of individual income, loss of population, cheaper high quality minor league stadium alternatives for those whose kids are too young to know the diff in baseball quality or who now live closer to those parks than downtown, all may play a part. Hard to think it’s all fueled by some unfair Dolan hate.

    We know much of the weak attendance is caused by the plunge in season tix sales and multigame packages, by wealthy individuals and many companies which gave up their loges and who no longer even buy seats. There were lots of free tickets floating around in the ’90s by companies giving them away when they couldn’t use them.

  • Steve

    I fully admit that I’m no fun to talk to about this, but I would say I’m no more dogmatic than the people like Bobby who spew this bait-and-switch nonsense. You’ll notice that I made a perfectly reasonable, if I say so myself, suggestion above to someone looking to get a better deal.

    I get that companies are fewer and less well off, people are less interested in baseball, and there pretty similar alternatives in town. I think these are three big factors in the attendance falling off.

    But I find this ‘I couldn’t walk up as the game started and get a cheap seat’ and subsequently blaming the team to be intellectually dishonest and a sign of a deeper problem (that unfair Dolan hate). And there’s a lot of that, and similar, around town.