Wanna See The Red Sox Play The Reds? You Must Also Buy Tickets To Three Other Games

A Bostonian now living in Cincinnati, reader Patrick was excited to see that this year’s Major League Baseball schedule includes a Red Sox at Reds series. He went to the Reds’ ticket website to buy tickets for his family, friends, and himself. That’s where things got ridiculous.

It turns out that the Cincinnati Reds, a once-proud baseball team that used to win games but is now managed by Dusty Baker, have realized that a series against the defending-champion Red Sox could be a big draw. But instead of just calling this a “premium series” and boosting the price, the Reds also forced Patrick to buy tickets in four-packs, that is, for every Red Sox/Reds ticket Patrick wanted, he also had to purchase tickets to three other, non-Red Sox games. Patrick wanted to buy eight tickets for each game of the three-game series, for a total of 24 tickets. The Reds wanted him to buy 96 tickets. When he called to complain, the rep told him that since he was a Red Sox fan from Boston, he should be used to paying high prices. The rep also advised him to buy tickets to other big series, such as the Cubs or Indians, and scalp them. That’s right, the rep advised him to buy tickets, then scalp them. With the cost of all the extra tickets, Patrick’s family and friends were only able to buy tickets to two games, and will have to tune into ESPN for the third game, where they will be able to listen to Joe Morgan ramble about 1975 while cursing the Reds’ existence.

Patrick’s emails are below.

Dear Consumerist–

I moved to Cincinnati over 5 years ago from Boston, and have been waiting for the years since to see my hometown team play in Cincinnati. So, to my surprise, the scheduling gods smiled upon me and scheduled the Sox to play the Red 3 games over a weekend in June (13-15). So now for months I have been waiting for information on when the tickets go on sale and any limitations that may be in place for ticket purchases (I have about 10 people flying in that weekend to attend the games). So I called the ticket office today and was told by a CSR that the Red Sox series is a premium game (one of only 2 the whole year which means the tickets are about twice as expensive, but that’s ok) and that they are only being sold as a part of a package with 3 other Reds Games! Basically, if my family and friends want to see the 3 games that the Sox will play in Cincinnati, they will have to purchase 9 additional tickets to 9 additional games when they wont be in town (which amounts to almost $200. The CSR then told me that this is the only series that this “rule” is being applied to (I’ve since called back twice and now have been told the same thing by 2 additional CSRs.) This is complete BS, they are taking advantage of fans from one team and forcing them to either 1) not attend the games 2) buy marked up tickets from scalpers or 3)pay an additional 200 dollars to buy tickets to games they cant attend! I have e-mailed as many members of the Reds organization as I could find e-mails for (you can’t find information for an EECB for baseball teams) and have overnighted a letter to the person whom I was told is in charge of ticket sales. I thought I would bring the matter to your attention in hopes that others can realize this ridiculous situation.

After Patrick’s letter reached someone at the Reds, he got a phone call

I received a phone call from a member of the Reds yesterday evening, who pretty much told me that what the CSRs had told me was correct and I would have to purchase a pack of tickets for each of the single Red Sox games I wanted to see. He then went on to tell me that since I am a Red Sox fan originally from Boston, I should be used to paying these prices for baseball games! He proceeded to tell me that I get packs that include other “big games” such as the Indians or Cubs that I could resell or scalp and most likely get my money back for, but most likely would get stuck with 1 Red Sox Game/1 Good Game/2 games that will suck. I am still furious and now will have to shell out close to 200 dollars to see 3 Reds games (compared to the 80 dollars I was anticipating my family/friends to spend considering the Reds are one of the cheapest ballparks in the Majors). Not even Bronson himself could play me a song on his guitar to make me happy at this point in time. The Sox haven’t been to Cincy since the 75 series, and this is how they are treating their visiting fans!

It turns out that the “big games” the Reds rep mentioned weren’t available, so Patrick instead gets to see the types of teams that the Reds could actually beat:

Here is what happened when the tickets went on sale. They were sold online and you had to click on a special icon to get to a special virtual waiting room for Red Sox tickets. Once in there, they were sold as 4 packs, so you go to pick 1 of the games the Sox were playing the Reds (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and pick your seat (remember the seats for the Sox game were about 3 times more expensive than a regular Reds game since it is a premium ticket). Once you pick your section for the Sox game, you are then forced to purchase 3 more tickets to games on the same day to any other Reds games. So, since I purchased 8 tickets (for friends and family that are flying out to Cincinnati) to all 3 games, in essence I had to purchase 72 tickets, when I only want to use 24 of them. And of course, when I tried to purchase tickets to other “bigger” Reds games on weekends (Cubs, Mets, Indians, etc.) I was told that they didn’t have tickets to those games available (whether they were already sold out in the sections I wanted or it was sketchy, I don’t know). So now I am stuck with games to see the Washington Nationals, Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates among other awesome NL teams. So much for the CSR’s advice of just scalping them or selling them online, I dont think there will be much demand for the games I got.

One final note to the story, turns out that when my brother purchased the tickets (I unfortunately had to work that Saturday they went on sale) most of the people could not afford to do all 3 games with the extra ticket prices, so we only purchased 8 tickets to the Friday and Saturday game. Meaning we had to purchase a total of 64 tickets (16 tickets to 2 Red Sox games, 48 tickets to random Reds games). Now I’m even more pissed than before! Way to rip off paying customers so they cant even attend all 3 games!