A Recent History of Selling No-Hitter Tickets After the Fact

Johan Santana #57 of the New York Mets celebrates with Josh Thole #30 after pitching a no hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals at CitiField on June 1, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Johan Santana pitches the first no hitter in Mets history. The Mets won 8-0.
Johan Santana, last Friday.

You may have heard that the Mets plan to reprint and sell tickets to Johan Santana’s no-hitter. Deadspin yesterday called it shameless, but the Mets are hardly the first team to sell tickets to a no-hitter after the fact. Here, a recent history of ticket sales for games that have already happened.

2009: After Mark Buehrle pitched his perfect game against the Rays, the White Sox put all the unsold tickets from the July 23 game on sale. They sold them for face value, meaning fans would pay between $23 and $57 for the tickets, depending on the location of the seat they wouldn’t be sitting in.

2010: Two years ago, the Marlins sold tickets to visiting pitcher Roy Halladay’s perfect game after the fact. Like the White Sox, they offered the unsold tickets for face value. Price ranged from $12 to over $300. The AP reported at the time that the Marlins would even count those who bought tickets in the official paid attendance. (The tickets the White Sox sold to Buehrle’s perfect game didn’t count toward the attendance figure.)

2010: While the Marlins were seeking some extra revenue (and also trying to boost their attendance figures), the Rays were offering unused tickets to Matt Garza’s no-hitter as an incentive to get fans to attend the Joe Maddon Summer Social fund-raiser. For $250, fans got a ticket to a game against the Orioles, admission to a reception with Maddon and his coaches afterwards, and an “authenticated” ticket from the Garza no-hitter. Rays Index estimated that some 20,000 tickets went unsold for the no-hitter, though only 200 tickets were available to the Joe Maddon Summer Social.

2012: The Mets aren’t just selling the tickets that went unsold for Santana’s no-hitter last week; they’re reprinting tickets for all 41,922 seats in Citi Field. Season-ticket holders will receive free reprints of their tickets, while partial-plan holders can get theirs at a discount. Everyone else can buy tickets printed on season-ticket holder stock for $50 each.

It’s a different approach than the White Sox and Marlins used: Those teams were offering unsold tickets at face value, essentially trying to “sell out” the game after the fact, even if the resulting tickets weren’t really tickets to a perfect game. What the Mets are selling is even more akin to the commemorative tickets (like this or this) that you sometimes see for momentous events, like the first game in a franchise’s history. In the Mets’ case, those commemorative tickets are simply printed with real seat numbers. (Give the Mets credit for having the sense not to charge more money for different seat locations.) And that’s all fine: The Mets have every right to milk this no-hitter for all it’s worth. But make no mistake: Buying a commemorative no-hitter “ticket” doesn’t allow you to own a keepsake from that historic night any more than buying a Johan Santana commemorative no-hitter beer koozie does.

Selling No-Hitter Tickets After the Fact Not New