Striking out on tickets for All-Star Game? Go (relatively) cheap

Local baseball fans may have to bypass the main game at Target Field on July 15 or get less-desirable seating.

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Blake Fry and his wife, Michele, held their coveted All-Star Game tickets. With them were their kids Liam, 7, and Abby, 11.

Photo: David Joles • djoles@startribune.com,

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Good seats to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game at Target Field on July 15 have been tough to get, and a gulp-inducing splurge for those lucky enough to land some.

But this weekend, the market made some room for those of more modest means to gain entry to the big game — if they are willing to sit in (relatively) cheap seats or to attend events before the main game.

Blake Fry of River Falls, Wis., bought two tickets for All-Star Game seats that aren’t as good as his season-ticket seats. “We can say we were there without taking out a second mortgage,” he said.

Official ticket sales started last year. Minnesota Twins season-ticket holders got first dibs. The general public then had the option of entering a ticket lottery.

Each ticket comes as a strip, so the price of one ticket includes entry to FanFest, the Futures Game, the Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. The cost of a single strip ranges from $401 to $1,416 for Champions Club members.

Season-ticket holders and lottery winners snapped up two-thirds of the 39,000 seats available at Target Field. The remainder went to corporate sponsors, MLB teams, players and owners.

“The best players in baseball are on one field at one time. It’s the only time it happens,” MLB spokesman Matt Bourne said about the game.

Bourne said that compared to other marquee sports events, the portion of All-Star Game seats available to the public is relatively substantial. For instance, the public has access to only about 1,000 seats at a Super Bowl.

Tickets still out there

By this weekend, All-Star tickets were available only on the secondary market — brokers to whom ticket holders sold tickets they don’t want or need. Most brokers divided the strips and sold tickets individually to events so fans could choose which they want to attend.

While the best seats for the All-Star Game remained costly on the secondary market this weekend, Home Run Derby prices dipped, and FanFest tickets were in the cellar.

Even among tickets for the game itself, prices varied. Demand and price were strong for infield seats. But the cost to get on the home run porch was softening, according to Tom Patania, president of Riverdale, N.J.,-based Select-A-Ticket broker. Overall, he said near the end of last week, “The market is still stable, so we’re still buying tickets.”

This weekend was a good time to shop as agents, sponsors and players started arriving in Minneapolis and more tickets became available, Patania said.

Michael Nowakowski, the president of Ticket King broker in Minneapolis, said he was surprised that Home Run Derby prices dropped 25 percent on the secondary market. “The Home Run Derby, throughout the years, had been picking up steam as far as something that people want to see,” he said, adding that tickets that were selling for $225 had sunk to $165 late last week.

Tickets for Sunday’s celebrity and futures games were starting at a paltry $10, while entry to the five-day FanFest at the Minneapolis Convention Center was available for $1 online. “There’s no market for them,” Nowakowski said of FanFest tickets. “We’re giving them to people that buy tickets” for other All-Star events.

Dream game or hype?

Fans chilling on Target Field Plaza before a game last week were of mixed minds on the value of the All-Star Game.

Festooned in red, white and blue metallic beaded necklaces over their Mauer and Mientkiewicz jerseys, a trio from Inver Grove Heights said they won’t attend, but not for a lack of desire. The friends attend some 20 games together each year with season tickets held by Linda Wiplinger. Despite owning six season tickets, Wiplinger said she could only buy two All-Star tickets.

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