I really keep my Fan Pass in pretty damn good shape, don’t I? Of course, as you may well know by now, this thing is practically already a relic, as the 2012 edition Fan Passes may be the last that many people get to see.
The absolute steal of a deal, formerly known as the Toronto Star Pass– an access card that costs around $100 and gets you a 500 level ticket to every home contest, provided it’s not already sold out on game day (with one exception: the home opener)– will be very limited this season, as the Jays seem to have found that by putting a World Series contender on the field, fans are actually willing to buy a whole lot more tickets than the ticket office is used to seeing.
Lots of people have been asking about this, both in the comments of various posts and on Twitter, so while some information may be redundant, since it’s all floating around out there on the internet, with nothing else going on today, and the announcement of the sale of 2013 ones expected soon, it seems a good time to make it concrete-ish and review what we think we know. (And please, if I’ve missed something, or misrepresented something, let me know in the comments and I’ll update!)
While there’s nothing that’s been quite officially announced by the club just yet, enough information has filtered out there to make pretty clear what the score is, including an email that was sent to 2012 pass holders in the fall:
Dear Fan Pass Holder,
Thank you for purchasing a Toronto Blue Jays Fan Pass last season. Please note that 2013 Toronto Blue Jays Fan Passes will be made available again in late January, 2013. Demand for the Toronto Blue Jays Fan Pass is extremely high and as a returning client, you will be offered the first opportunity to purchase up to a maximum of two Fan Passes per account, subject to availability. In order to allocate available passes fairly; the maximum of 2 Fan Passes per account will be strictly followed.
Unfortunately we cannot accommodate specific seat requests. Passes will be assigned on a best-available basis and while supplies last.
In January 2013, you will receive a follow up email with instructions for your Fan Pass purchase at bluejays.com. Again, availability is limited and we will not be able to offer additional passes once the allotment is sold out.
Toronto Blue Jays Fan Passes do not include a ticket to Opening Night. If you would like a ticket to Opening Night, you may include that game as a part of one of our 2013 Flex Packages- subject to availability. Opening Night seats are selling quickly and are very limited. Flex Packages can be purchased at www.bluejays.com/flexpacks.
Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you at the ballpark.
Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club
That’s still the case, as far as I know, which isn’t great news for a) those who didn’t get passes last year but wanted to for 2013, and b) those who had more than two passes on one account last year.
Those two things are related as many, many people (judging by the comments I’ve heard, as well as my own experience), didn’t bother to get passes on their own last year (seeing as they wouldn’t have been assigned seats next to their friends), and are now finding themselves short by several. For that reason, I don’t think many– if any, depending on just how limited the availability is– folks who didn’t already have the passes will be able to get their hands on one, as there is a built-in market for a whole bunch more, who already have contact with ticket reps.
In fact, I’ve heard some say that they’ve been told that only 2012 pass holders will have the opportunity to get them [Update: this is what ticket reps have been telling people of late, so you're pretty safe get yourself a flex pack if you didn't have a pass last year]. (Of course, you could always cross your fingers and deal with the guy trying to sell the email account he uses to buy his for $999 per pass– or best offer– on Kijiji).
Back in November I received an email from a fan who said that the ticket rep he’d spoken to told him the club wasn’t entirely sure if passes would even be offered for this year, so the fact that they even exist is, I suppose, a positive. Indeed, we can see from the Terms and Conditions page regarding tickets on BlueJays.com, that they will be available in some form. But there’s word of a large waiting list, reps have been telling people not to get their hopes up, and that all seems to be a pretty reasonable reading of the situation.
Interestingly, from the Terms and Conditions we see something new– the fact that there will only be one access card per account, with both passes being “on” just the one card. This will be a bit of a pain in the ass, of course, when the non-pass-holder wants to go to a game the pass-holder can’t make it to. Doubly problematic, if you’re the second person on an account (or just want to share it with a friend), may be the fact that to gain entry to the stadium on the pass “you may also be required to present valid photo identification.”
I have no idea about how strict they’ll be in that regard– the only thing that makes me slightly concerned is the fact that a poster on the Jays’ MLB.com forum writes that “a buddy” told him “they will be doing random ID checks this year and removing the pass from anyone that uses them improperly.”
I certainly wouldn’t trust that to be the case– later in the thread someone says that they were told that the names of all people using the passes would be required this year at the time of purchase. So, that’s almost certainly what that’s about [Update: And, indeed, a commenter says that they spoke to a manager who explained that they won't refuse entry to those whose names aren't on the passes, but that it's simply a "security precaution"-- perhaps a way to ensure people banned from the stadium are kept out, for example]. But those rumblings are out there, and I understand the skepticism, because it’s not like the process isn’t occasionally a bit of a disasterfuck, as another commenter on that thread explains:
Girlfriend came with me one day and i had to buy her a ticket in the 500s, some other section then the one I was in.
The f-in usher wouldn’t let her come into the WORSE section with me because her ticket was for a better seat.
This was a game of 20,000
Rogers Centre staff will ensure any baseball experience is ruined.
Ridiculous– and not representative of the experiences that I’ve had in that regard. At least not in 2012.
And while I understand the tendency may be to get negative about all of this, didn’t we always see this insane deal being ultimately phased out if the team ever got to the point where there was any kind of demand for actual tickets? It was a great run while it lasted, and I’ll be pleased as a pig in shit when I get word that my 1/3 of a two-seat pass comes through for 2013. But as someone who has used and abused the shit out of the privilege for as long as I can remember, I can’t honestly begrudge the club for taking it away.
I’d be surprised if the deal makes it into 2014, and if it doesn’t, it will probably have meant great things for the 2013 version of the Jays, which is hardly a thing to complain about. I get why there’s frustration over it, but it’s so thoroughly been a steal that I can’t possibly go there myself. (Especially since, as @NorthYorkJays reminds us in the comments, actual season tickets for the 500s come to about $635, or $7.85 per game– which, granted, is considerably more than the pass, but still a ridiculous value compared to other sports and teams across MLB).
Minor Leauger of Bluebird Banter adds to the information, explaining that “The Blue Jays are heavily encouraging people to buy their Fan Passes online and not by phone. By the end of this month, last year’s Fan Pass holders will get an email to log in online to buy them. You will get the seats that come up when you log on, there is no promise of any choice. You will get what they consider to be ‘best available.’ “