The Red Sox could present the uninspiring combination of lowering payroll while increasing ticket prices in 2020, team president Sam Kennedy said Monday.
A day after the $240 million team finished with just 84 wins, Kennedy said “it’s a goal, not a mandate” to get the payroll under $208 million for 2020. But he also said he expects ticket prices to rise for the fifth consecutive year.
“We’ve had a pretty consistent approach to ticket pricing the last five years,” he said. “Low single digits and cost-of-living inflationary increases. We haven’t made a decision for 2020, but I would anticipate another modest increase.”
The Red Sox froze ticket prices ahead of the 2012, 2013 and 2015 seasons.
Over the last four years, ticket prices have gone up 1.4%, 2.9%, 2.5% and 2.5%, respectively. In that time, the payroll has been around $204 million, $192 million, $239 million and $240 million, respectively. Kennedy said the team still plans to invest heavily in the team and that cutting payroll in 2020 is likely only temporary.
“We’ve proven you can have the highest payroll in baseball and win a World Series and you can have the highest payroll and win 84 games and finish out of postseason competition,” Kennedy said. “There is a correlation to spending and winning, clearly. Since 2002 we’ve invested more into player payroll than any other team than the New York Yankees, I believe. And we have the highest winning percentage in that same period other than the New York Yankees.”
Despite increasing ticket prices overall, the Red Sox will continue having a student ticket initiative, which provides an allotment of $9 tickets to students for each game.
“Could we have an open house day, where we put aside 10,000 to 15,000 tickets just for kids on an ongoing basis free of charge? The obvious answer is yes,” Kennedy told the Herald last month.
“There’s a market for that,” he added. “We need to challenge ourselves to see if that could be a possibility. We’ve talked about that. On lower-demand games you might have an opportunity to do that. It really is an investment in the future.”