Anaheim Angels: We Don't Need Poor Fans, and We Don't Want Them

Arte: Laughing all the way to the bank
Arte: Laughing all the way to the bank
Illustration by Bob Aul

Orange County Register Anaheim Angels of Anaheim beat reporter Pedro Moura has been on fire all season, and really since he began a couple of years ago at the paper. He has broken stories, pilloried owner Arte Moreno for his increasingly tyrannical ways, and done this in an environment where he has to deal with some of the most thin-skinned fans in sports. But Moura published a jaw-dropper of a piece yesterday in a most-interesting vein: social inequality.

Moura and other Halos writers have recently focused on the Angels' dramatic drop in attendance this season--they're on track to attract less than 3 million fans this year, which would be the first time since 2003 that that's happened, and the largest season-over-season drop in at least 15 years. But rather than bemoan that point, Angels vice president of marketing and ticket sales Robert Alvarado told Moura that ticket revenue for 2015 so far is higher than 2014 because they're making more money off higher-priced tickets and the people who buy them. So it's not a matter of bringing out as many fans to the ballpark as possible; it's a matter of squeezing out as much money as possible from those who can attend.

Alvarado goes on to prove his class elitism with this telling quote:

"We may not be reaching as many of the people on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder, but those people, they may enjoy the game, but they pay less, and we're not seeing the conversion on the per-caps [Gustavo note: spend more money like other, wealthier fans, in Halospeak]," Alvarado said. "In doing so, the ticket price that we're offering those people, it's not like I can segregate them, because I'm offering it up to the public, and I'm basically downselling everybody else in order to accommodate them."

To review: Alvarado doesn't really want poor people at the Angels Stadium because they don't spend that much money. By trying to attract them, he worsens the experience for wealthier fans. And if he could, he'd segregate the poors from everyone else.

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[Quick aside: wasn't that the point of the left-field Family Section from so long ago?]

WOW. You rarely see such contempt for poor people from sports franchises, who always try to put on the facade of the benevolent neighborhood institution, the better to gouge fans (best local example, of course, is the Los Angeles Dodgers). Are the Angels going to stop giving tickets away to kids in SanTana and Anacrime 'cause they're not from Coto de Caza and Mission Viejo? Pathetic.

Read Moura's great piece here. And lest chavala Angels fans start piling on me for my interpretation of Alvarado's quote, Moura highlighted the passage in his tweets promoting the piece. And the Angels fan who brought the story to my attention (who's requesting anonymity lest his fellow fans rag on him for daring to say nice things about this infernal rag) had this to say: "As a lifelong Angel fan it saddens me to see the direction El Jefe is taking the Angels. Its [sic] all about the pesos for him and to have his pendejo, Alvarado say [his quote]."

Congrats, Pedro, on another great scoop. Who knows? Maybe Arte will hate you as much as he did the great TJ Simers...HA!

Email: Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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