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Pirates ticket prices to rise in 2012

MILWAUKEE — The Pirates' success on the field this season will mean higher ticket prices next year.

Team officials confirmed to the Tribune-Review that the Pirates intend to raise prices for the 2012 season.

It is expected to be an across-the-board increase, but the team has not finalized the increases for full-season packages, partial plans or single-game tickets.

It would be the Pirates' first major increase in ticket prices in 10 years.

The Pirates surprised fans and analysts this season by climbing into first place in the National League's Central Division in late July. Despite a recent 10-game losing streak, the team has a chance to snap its run of 18 consecutive losing seasons. The Pirates take a 56-60 record into their road series tonight against the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

Michael Jackson, director of the graduate sports and recreation administration program at Temple University, is not surprised the Pirates decided to raise prices.

"They've got to do it now," Jackson said. "Adrenaline is flowing. People are so excited about the team. The backlash will not be really strong because of the psychological factor of competition. As long as they're hot, you have to capitalize on it -- but you cannot bust the bank."

The Pirates raised the prices of some tickets by $2 to $5 this season by implementing a day-of-game pricing plan.

For six consecutive seasons, the Pirates have ranked among the five lowest in average ticket price among the 30 major league teams.

According to Team Marketing Report, an online publisher of sports marketing information, the average cost of a Pirates ticket this season is $15.30. That's 43 percent lower than the Major League Baseball average of $26.91 and the third-lowest average price in the majors.

Fans grumbled when the Pirates raised ticket prices for the 2002 season after the team lost 100 games during PNC Park's inaugural season. Then-owner Kevin McClatchy acknowledged the increase was a mistake and rolled back season-ticket prices by $1 a seat.

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