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Pricing out Mets fans

Bringing the World Series to the world’s borough, despite its heartbreaking conclusion, is something that can give everyone in Queens a sense of pride and accomplishment—from the team’s stellar roster of young pitchers to the legions of fans who have supported the Mets in good times and bad.

But while the enthusiasm of that diverse fan base has played a big factor in the success of this year’s National League champs, the ability of those fans to share in their team’s biggest moment met an all-too-predictable roadblock: the inflated cost of World Series tickets. The $17,553 per seat price that two people paid for their Game 3 seats on StubHub, according to a CNN report, may be an extreme example. However, it is undeniable that the 2015 World Series, especially for the games played at Citi Field, reached a new high in terms of ticket prices.

Much of that price spike was a result of the ever-expanding secondary market, in which online ticket buyers can quickly send the cost of a seat into tech-stock territory. At ticket search engine TipIQ, for example, tickets for Series games at Citi Field were going for an average of $1,600. But even fans who got their tickets the old-fashioned way had to deal with sticker shock. The face value of tickets to Series games at Citi Field started at a hefty $125 and went sharply up from there. According to Chicago-based Team Marketing Report, the average price paid for a Mets ticket during the regular season was $25.30.

To put that into context, for a family of four to get to the stadium, pay for their seats and indulge in hot dogs, popcorn and soda, they’d likely have to spend almost as much as they did on last month’s rent.

Even Gov. Mario Cuomo tried, to truncated effect, to get in on the bonanza that soaring ticket prices produced. A plan to sell individual seats for Games 3 and 4 at $5,500 a pop as a fund-raiser was scrapped after it set off a firestorm of criticism from both the media and the fans.

The problem of high ticket prices has not escaped the attention of borough politicians, however. State Sen. José Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), whose district includes Citi Field, is the co-sponsor of a bill that would limit ticket resellers to a 20 percent profit on resold tickets.

In the folklore of New York City, it has always been the Yankees who were the big-money behemoths, while the Mets have held on to an image as the kind of hardscrabble guys who have a natural appeal for the hardworking, multi-cultural borough they call home. It’s in everyone’s interest that something be done to keep these Queens heroes within reach of their many fans.

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