Dodgers' ticket sales increase

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have seen a dramatic increase in ticket sales since Tuesday night's announcement that Guggenheim Baseball Management had purchased the club, a team executive said Thursday.

The group, headed by Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson and largely financed by Guggenheim Capital chief executive officer Mark Walter, agreed to terms on a $2.15 billion deal to purchase the club, the ballpark and half the stadium parking lots.

"There is definitely a renewed sense of excitement with our fans, and it has really resonated (in terms of sales)," said David Siegel, Dodgers senior director of ticket sales. "Our phones have been ringing like crazy."

Siegel declined to provide specific numbers as to how much sales had jumped since the announcement. He did say, however, that the increase has been more in season-ticket and mini-plan sales but that it also has extended to some degree to single-game sales.

"We have seen a spike across all of our tickets sales," he said.

Although sales have increased since Tuesday night's announcement, Siegel said he had seen increases in overall sales since the team announced in December that it actually was lowering the prices of most of the seats throughout Dodger Stadium for the 2012 season. The lowered prices were part of an effort to bring back much of that large segement of the team's season-ticket base that deserted the Dodgers during the final year or two that unpopular outgoing owner Frank McCourt had control of the franchise.

"From my perspective, I think there are a lot of factors," Siegel said. "I think as a result of lowering prices across the board, adding some great season-ticket holder benefits and amenities, all coupled with our transition into a new ownership, we finally are starting to see some traction from all the work we have put into this over the past several months.

"Also, we are seeing a lot of season-ticket holders who flat-out canceled last year calling back now to see if their seats are still available."

And in many cases, Siegel said, their former seats have been available.

"Those that canceled the last couple of years, we are actually happy to let them keep their same seniority, those that have been with us for a really, really long time," Siegel said. "Obviously, if their old seats aren't available, they aren't available. But in almost every case, we have been able to get them very comparable seats or even better."

Allowing season-ticket holders to hold onto their seniority even after canceling their tickets for a year or even two is a courtesy rarely extended by professional sports franchises. But the Dodgers were so determined to bring those old customers back into the fold that they were able to offer that without really penalizing anyone who would have moved up in seniority by not canceling their plans.

"I would say it's not common practice in the professional sports industry," Siegel said. "But we are so dedicated to getting those fans back into the stadium that it was something we were happy to do. For people who have been with us for a long period of time, we realize the Dodgers have been a part of those people's lives for so long. So to cancel their seats is almost like canceling memories. So if these people want to come back, we want to extend those courtesies to them."

Siegel added that the Dodgers already had reached their season-ticket renewal goal from 2011-12.

"Our renewal percentage has been much greater than last year, and it was that way even before the ownership announcement," he said. "We were pretty much on our renewal-percentage goal, and that is why I say there were a lot of factors in the renewed excitement. (But) there has definitely been a great buzz and energy in the last 24 hours since the announcement. I definitely can say there has been consistently positive feedback from our fans ever since we made the announcement."