The Philadelphia Phillies’ looming signing of Bryce Harper already is paying off.
The Phillies sold 100,000-plus tickets in the hours after reports claiming Harper had agreed to join the team as a free agent emerged in the media, Phillies senior vice president of ticket operations John Weber told Philadelphia radio station 94WIP on Friday morning. Weber has worked for the Phillies since 1987 and has never seen such a one-day spike in sales.
“I’m happy, I’m very, very happy,” Weber said. “My records, it is. Obviously, our big signings of Jim Thome in ’02. We had four months to sell him, we were going into a new ballpark in a year. And then Cliff Lee came back as a free agent, but that was after we’d been to two World Series. We have tickets to sell.”
Harper and the Phillies reportedly agreed to a record-setting contract worth $330 million over 13 years Thursday, ending the team’s months’-long pursuit of the superstar.
Weber said demand in the right-field area of Citizens Bank Park, where Harper will patrol in the coming years, also surged after reports of his agreement broke.
“We absolutely did sell some in the right-field area,” Weber said. “It was an exciting day, we stayed open until 6:30. We’ll be open this Saturday and looking forward to the season.”
The Phillies have played 15 seasons at Citizens Bank Park. Their average attendance ranked in the top half of the National League in nine of their first 10 seasons at the venue, but they’ve been in the bottom half in each of the past five years.
Something tells us that’s about to change in 2019.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images