The diamond club seats, among the best in Kauffman Stadium, are situated behind the Crown Club, which is next to the field. (Courtesy Kansas City Royals)

MLB team selling 11-game plans for premium area behind home plate

For the first time since the Konica Minolta Diamond Club opened at Kauffman Stadium in 2010, Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals are selling 11-game mini season ticket plans for those seats.

The club is a three-tiered section of 775 seats behind home plate that sits behind the Crown Club, the premium seats closest to the field.

Diamond club seats, as they are known generically, are among the most lucrative seats in baseball because of their location, and most MLB teams sell them in full-season and half-season ticket plans. In Kansas City, though, the Royals have seen some attrition four years after winning the 2015 World Series. They had a rough 2018 season, winning just 58 games and finishing with the American League’s second-worst record.

“We have open inventory for the first time in a long time and figured we’d get a little more creative on the package to get some interest,” said Steve Shiffman, the Royals’ senior director of sales and service, entering his 22nd season in MLB.

For the 2019 season, the 11-game ticket packages are tied to about 20 seats over the course of the 81-game home schedule, said Mike Bucek, the Royals’ vice president of marketing and business development.

Fans get to pick their 11 games. The Royals would not say how many mini-plans have been sold but they’re pleased with the results, Bucek said.

“You have to adjust to meet buyers’ demands,” he said.

Shiffman said the team had heard fans talk about new tax laws eliminating deductions on premium seating used for client hospitality, “and that may be a little bit of a factor that’s played into it for some companies and businesses.”

The Royals dynamically price all tickets. For the diamond club, tickets run $80 to $120 a seat for the 11-game package, which is $2 less than the individual game price, Shiffman said. Those patrons get access to the open-air club lounge and pay a separate fee for food and drink. The mini-plan does not include the right to buy postseason tickets and is only in effect for the 2019 season.  

“The only perk you have is getting great seats without committing to a full season,” Shiffman said.

The Royals are not publicly promoting the mini-plan, but they are pitching it to past season-ticket holders and potential customers contacting the team to buy tickets, Shiffman said.

The mini plans come two years after the Royals revamped part of the diamond club with seven rows of 112 theater-style seats and 26 tables with four seats apiece. The upgrades included a new rotisserie stand and a center bar relocated to the back of the club. Royals concessionaire Aramark is installing an NCR point-of-sales system for the club this season, replacing Appetize.

Elsewhere in the ballpark, Aramark this season is introducing the Bullpen Burger, a $7 sandwich available at the Rivals sports bar in right field. The retro-themed stand replaces the old Andrew Zimmern’s Canteen, which sold sausages and flatbreads. Aramark’s licensing deal with the TV food celebrity expired after the 2018 season.

“We looked at a variety of new ideas for that stand and came up with a … consistent, fan-friendly burger,” Bucek said. “It’s not a gourmet burger (but) much easier to eat in a paper wrapper at your seat.”

Editor’s note: This story has been revised. An NCR point-of-sales system is being installed for the club.