Padres unveil a sweet 'Loaded' deal
Ticket plan makes the ballpark experience fun and easier
SAN DIEGO -- Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield may have said it best on Thursday, when he described the San Diego Padres' new "Loaded" ticket plan as "an all-inclusive resort."
The new "Loaded" ticket, that automatically comes with concession and merchandise value, was previewed on Thursday afternoon at the Trolley Station Grill on the Toyota Terrace Level at PETCO Park.
Winfield, the Padres' VP and senior adviser, was the first to demonstrate the plan, as he took his special-game ticket, presented it at the concession stand and ordered a bratwurst, a chicken Caesar salad and a bottle of water. The ticket was scanned on the barcode by a concessionaire, who gave him back a receipt and his ticket. All that was left was for Winfield to ask, "Where's the mustard?"
Winfield gave a capsule overview of the new ticket plan.
"Today, you're going to hear about the 'Loaded' ticket, the bases-loaded ticket to be more precise," said Winfield. "There are 645 seats in the right-field pavilion right over where 'Winfield Pavilion' used to be [at Qualcomm Stadium]. Ticket prices for this plan will be the same as last season, $45, and we're adding $20 worth of value to the ticket, where the fan can come over and buy food or drink or any other kind of concession.
"It kind of makes for a full and nice day. You don't have to worry about going into your pocket. It's kind of like one of those all-inclusive resorts.
"You are getting much more value to your ticket and you're in a nice section. Some parks have done similar plans where it's all-you-can-eat, but it's limited fare. Here you can get whatever you want -- healthy food, normal ballpark fare -- or you can go and buy yourself a hat. They scan the ticket, you get a little receipt, you know how much you have still loaded on your ticket and boom, there you go. It makes for a great day at the ballpark. You know what you're working with. You don't have to go into your pocket. Mom and dad will like that."
George Stieren, director of business and public relations, noted that the 645 seats are in sections 219-225. He said that there will be no blackout dates, and that tickets will go on sale along with other Padres single-game tickets beginning this Saturday.
"I think the big thing is that it's another option," said Stieren. "We've got senior discounts, military discounts, a 13-game flex plan. And this is the way to give other people more options. One of the advantages of being at PETCO Park is that we have the use of technology that can help the fan with the ballpark experience."
Jeff Overton, executive vice president of business operations, had his own take.
"We are always looking at the ballpark and trying to understand how fans want to use it creating more and more options," said Overton. "One of the concepts that has come into play the last couple of years is the all-you-can-eat concept. We think that that is interesting and has its place. But another concept that hasn't been in very many venues so far is this 'Loaded' ticket with value added.
"We thought that really had a nice connotation and was something we wanted to go forward with. What the Dodgers have is one price, sit in the outfield seats and then you have all the hot dogs, popcorn and soft drinks you want. Our concept is very different. With our plan, the ticket becomes your credit card, if you will. We think this is a terrific ideas that gives the fan a quality seat and the choice of their food, and we think it is a nice marriage.
"This concept might grow to where it is involved with season tickets at some point. But this year, we are testing it with 645 tickets with single purchases or group purchases. Again, if it is met with the kind of receptivity that we expect, it will be terrific.
"What a great way to entertain. Give somebody a couple of ticket and you've taken care of their hot dogs and soft drink. It's terrific, and we think it's going to be very popular. We want this to be about choices and another way people can enjoy the game at PETCO Park."
"The Philadelphia Phillies have used this similar plan," noted director of ticket operations Dawson Hughes. "They've actually grown their program the last four years to the point where every ticket-concession stand can take a ticket with added value. They have some discounts, where if you buy five tickets up front, you get a discount on your concession prices.
"What we're tying to do this year is really test this out," Hughes said. "We have had great success with our group fare on the Western Metals Building, where we have an all-you-can-eat buffet. For the first time, we will be selling individual seats for this section on a game-by-game basis this season when they are available."
Single tickets, including "Loaded" tickets for the 2008 Padres season, go on sale on Saturday at 9 a.m. PT.
Sandy Burgin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.