Blue Jays baseball in 2019: Come for the $5 beer, stay for the $500K Opening Day 50/50 jackpot. Because, if we’re being honest, you’re probably not coming for the baseball, and no one seems to know that more than the Jays.
One day after the team announced the Rogers Centre will be selling cheap brews during the upcoming season, the Jays doubled down on their effort to fill the seats on Opening Day.
With plenty of tickets still available for Toronto’s home opener against the Detroit Tigers on March 28, the club announced a potentially record-breaking jackpot for the Opening Day 50/50 raffle.
The Jays are guaranteeing a minimum $500,000 jackpot, which would set a new MLB record while coming just shy of the Vancouver Canucks, who set a North American sports record last season with a $507,278 purse.
The Blue Jays’ attendance had fallen back in recent years as the organization struggled to put a competitive team on the field. They were in the middle of the pack in 2018, ranking 13th throughout MLB with an average attendance of 29,066.
This trend is very likely to continue in 2019, and the Jays seem to be well aware of this.
“It’s a reflection of where we are competitively,” said Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “It’s a reflection of the last two years and, frankly, for all but maybe three or four major-league teams.
“So 26 of the 30 teams have the exact same circumstance that every team goes through, which is when you go through a down cycle in your competitiveness and you come off two years that are disappointing for us and our fans like the last two years that there will be some slide in attendance.”
With the Jays expected to turn in another poor season, and with Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s MLB debut put on hold, it’s not shocking to see the Jays pull out all the stops to fill the seats for the home opener.
And while a record-setting purse will likely urge a few more fans to grab some last-minute tickets, it’s a bandaid solution to a problem that will likely haunt the Jays for yet another season.
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