Cleveland Indians Opening Day tickets have sold out in mere minutes for the 2017 Major League Baseball season. This makes the 25th consecutive season that the Indians will play in front of a sellout crowd on Opening Day. Indians single-game tickets went on sale early Monday morning (March 6), giving fans who don't have season tickets their first opportunity to purchase those game seats.
A report by WKYC was trying to break the news that Cleveland Indians' 2017 tickets had gone on sale Monday morning, but the Indians' Opening Day tickets had sold out before they could even make the announcement. Fans seem very excited to watch the defending American League champions in action for the first time in 2017. It should be quite an event to attend, as the team will reveal its new AL championship banner for the crowd.
The Cleveland Indians' Opening Day will have a 4:10 p.m. ET first pitch against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field on April 11. It won't serve as the season opener for the team, but this is the home opener at Progressive Field. On the Indians' 2017 schedule, the team will play its first game of the 2017 season against the Texas Rangers. Game 1 is at 7:05 p.m. ET on April 3. The Indians have three games against the Rangers and three against the Arizona Diamondbacks before playing the next six games at Progressive Field.
Selling out the Cleveland Indians' Opening Day tickets took only three minutes in 2017, as compared to the 40 minutes it took before the 2016 MLB season. This means that fans who weren't ready to act at the exact moment they went on sale will likely have to look at the secondary market to purchase them. It's not surprising news that the team was able to sell out the single game tickets, but it's big news that it all happened so quickly. It also led to an uptick in sales for the remainder of the homestand as well.
Another important fact about this quick sale was that the many Cleveland Indians season ticket packages were sold during the MLB offseason. A lot of fans are on board with the team again, signing up to see all 81 games at Progressive Field in 2017. Owner Paul Dolan had estimated that as many as 2,500 additional Indians season tickets had been sold this year as compared to just a year before. That's always what happens when a team makes it all the way to the World Series and the franchise has invested a lot of offseason money on a possible return trip.
One person who will be very happy to hear about the Cleveland Indians 2017 Opening Day tickets selling out so quickly is Edwin Encarnacion. A report by CBS Sports indicated that Encarnacion has bonuses built into his contract contingent upon Indians' ticket sales. Encarnacion makes $13 million in 2017, $17 million in 2018, and $20 million in 2019. The 2020 MLB season is a team option worth another $20 million, should the team decide Encarnacion should stick around. He also received a $5 million signing bonus. The option includes a $5 million buyout.
During the 2016 MLB season, the Cleveland Indians' attendance numbers ranked among the worst in Major League Baseball. The team only drew 1,591,667 fans, which ranked 28th out of 30 MLB teams. It was an increase from the 1,388,905 fans who turned out but still among the worst in the league. In an effort to address the Indians' attendance problems, Encarnacion will make an additional $1 million per season if the team can surpass two million fans. The Indians' attendance numbers haven't been close to 2 million in a few years.
If the early Indians' 2017 ticket sales are any indication, then the team might just be able to meet that goal of at least 2 million fans in attendance. Starting off the campaign with a nice winning streak and taking over first place in the American League Central would be the easiest way to ensure that the crowds start coming out to Progressive Field when the summer months finally roll around. There is definitely an additional buzz around the city of Cleveland that has been missing since the team dealt away star pitchers CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee.
While it was expected that the Indians would sell out for Opening Day, Cleveland 2017 single-game ticket sales will certainly tell the full story. Did the front office do enough in the offseason to keep the Indians atop the division? Can Andrew Miller and Edwin Encarnacion help the team win a lot of games early on? Doing so will definitely help the team sell even more single-game tickets following the Indians' home opener. The Cleveland Indians' promotional schedule should also help bring more people through the turnstiles later in the regular season.
[Featured Image by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]