The Milwaukee Brewers have already lost slugging first baseman Prince Fielder and there’s a chance that Ryan Braun, last year’s National League MVP, could be suspended for the start of the regular season. However, the club’s fans don’t seem to mind as tickets for the upcoming season are selling like hotcakes so far.
The team held its Brewers on Deck event at the Frontier Airlines Center recently and said this season could set a new attendance record for the franchise. Winning the NL Central title last season has a lot to do with it and it appears the fans aren’t really concerned who’s going to be in or out of the lineup on opening day.
The club said sales are well ahead of last year’s numbers and it expects to set an all-time Brewers attendance record if the fans keep on snapping them up. The club set a franchise record last season when 3,071,373 tickets were sold for its 91 home games. The Brewers won 57 of those on their way to a 96-win season, both team records. It was the third time in the last four years and the third time in club history that they have attracted more than three million fans to their ballpark.
Another team record was set on Dec. 22 when the Brewers sold their millionth ticket for next season, which is about a month earlier than they’ve ever done it before. The team announced the millionth ticket had been sold about 10 days after the news broke about Braun’s possible suspension due to a failed drug test. According to the team’s ticket office, the sales didn’t slow down after fans learned of Braun’s predicament.
However, Braun didn’t show up for the On Deck happening, which featured photo and autograph sessions with most of the players. It was reported that Mark Attanasio, the principal owner of the club, told Braun he didn’t have to show up while his case is under appeal. It was reported that the appeal process started on Jan. 19 and arbiters are supposed to rule on the case within 25 days.
Some fans were upset that Braun skipped the event, but the club feels the best thing for him to do at the moment is to focus on the drug allegations and get that incident cleared up first. The Brewers held several events in the past to drum up ticket sales for upcoming seasons, but the On Deck event, which began in 2009 at the convention center, has proved to be the most effective.
Rick Schlesinger of the Brewers front office said the fans love it and the staff and players enjoy it just as much. He feels it’s a key ingredient to the continued success of the club and it shows that the fans are interested in the good fortunes of the team as a whole rather than its individual players.