Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Premium Reds seats not gone

By Cliff Peale
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        There are about 100 opportunities left to see the 2003 Cincinnati Reds at $175 a pop. That's the number of Diamond Seats remaining unsold in Great American Ball Park for its scheduled April opening.

        The Scout Seats, at $60 a game, are sold out; and only about 400 of the Club Seats remain at either $42 or $50 a game. There still are three luxury boxes left at either $85,000 or $120,000 a year, said Jenny Gardner, the team's director of new stadium development.

        This comes as the Reds ramp up for their move into the new ballpark. In October, front-office employees will move into their new headquarters along Second Street.

        Those premium-seat sales next year are critical for the Reds' budget, which should increase up to $10 million in new revenue from the ballpark. That will lessen the impact of the revenue-sharing deal that Major League Baseball and the players' union struck last week.

        Publicly, owners are thrilled about the deal, which helped them avoid a strike that many felt would have crippled the game. St. Louis Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt, a Cincinnatian, said the deal “clearly tightens the band from the top to the bottom.”

        But privately, some owners (including the Reds' Carl Lindner) think that the deal doesn't do enough to narrow the financial disparities between the small-market teams and big-market clubs such as the New York Yankees.

        The bottom line: Expect owners to approve the deal to avoid a strike when they vote. But don't expect them to be happy about it. And don't expect the revenue sharing to fund a new starting pitcher or cleanup hitter for the Reds.


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