SAN DIEGO — Surging fan interest in the Padres, accelerated by trade-deadline moves that included the addition of 23-year-old superstar Juan Soto, is expected to cause the franchise to implement the first season-ticket-sales cap in history.
CEO Erik Greupner told the San Diego Union-Tribune the club already has eclipsed the sales record of 18,808 established in 2004, the season Petco Park opened. New ticket requests for the 2023 season pushed that total to more than 20,200 since news of the Soto trade broke.
"The fan response has been exceptional," Greupner said. "Right now, people are realizing, I don't want to be on the outside looking in."
The reason for a cap is three-fold, Greupner said. Since not all fans can afford to buy packages of at least 20 games, the team wants to hold back enough seats for single-game sales. Limiting season-long sales also would maintain enough inventory for big groups.
Another factor is maximizing revenue, since the team's payroll is on track to blow past Major League Baseball's luxury-tax threshold for a second consecutive season. Single-game tickets are sold at full price, while season tickets come with discounts.
Greupner said the plan is still being built, so an exact cap number has not been finalized. Other details, such as whether partial-season tickets will be sold once a cap is hit, also remain under discussion.
The Padres have drawn just under 2 million (1,989,766) through 54 home games this season and rank No. 5 in average attendance (36,848), trailing the Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees and World Series-winning Braves.
Soto is the centerpiece of what many consider the biggest trade-deadline deal in baseball history. In his first game with the Padres, the crowd Wednesday of 44,652 was the third highest of the season, despite the game occurring in the middle of the week against a last-place team (a hoodie giveaway also helped).
"Really, the one ticket (area) left for season ticket membership is going to be upper level," Greupner said. "There's really nothing left on field level, nothing left on terrace level, nothing left in outfield reserves."©2022 The San Diego Union-Tribune. Visit sandiegouniontribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.