Rays charge $100 premium for right to buy playoff tickets early

Getting folks to come and watch the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field is a tricky business.

One day — Wednesday, actually — the club is giving tickets away.

The next, it is charging $100 for the privilege of stepping to the front of the line to buy American League Division Series tickets. This does not include the cost of the ticket.

A premium, following a freemium.

Make up your minds, already!

From The Heater:

Under a plan announced this morning, the Rays are selling memberships to the Playoff Access Club for $100 each that "give fans the opportunity to purchase one ticket per game for each membership purchased" starting today — before tickets are sold to anyone else. Club membership — which they say will be capped at 2,500 — also includes a Rays cooler and discounts toward 2011 single-game ticket purchases.

The cooler (which we included in the photo) is the most amusing part. It doesn't look like a half-bad cooler, depending on its actual size. Worth, maybe, $20. But it's a cooler. Kind of cheesy.

The discounts for 2011 are good for up to $25 of Rays tickets. So, maybe it's a $65 premium to buy a ticket for the ALDS — only one — before the next guy.

It's actually a good-ish idea for markets where there's an overwhelming demand for playoff tickets. People in Philadelphia, San Francisco or Minnesota might bite on something like that.

Rays' ALDS prices are actually quite reasonable, based on their regular-season prices. A regular seat in right field costs $12-$27, depending how close to the field you sit. Playoff tickets in the outfield: $40, no matter what row you sit. Not bad.

Will fans in Tampa Bay join the club?

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