The New York Mets are going to the movies. For the team’s Wednesday game at the Phillies, Manhattan’s Ziegfeld theater will host a live broadcast of the game for more than 1,100 fans and VIPs, starting at 6 p.m.
“We’re probably going to have to modify the thrust power in the launcher,” said Mets exec VP of business operations Dave Howard.
He’s not joking — the Ziegfeld screening will re-create a stadium experience as closely as possible, with the national anthem, the Pepsi Party Patrol, and yes, T-shirts and prizes launched inside the cavernous movie palace.
The live programming will take place in lieu of the commercials that air during the telecast on SportsNet New York (SNY). The network carries the Mets’ games exclusively on local cable. Team mascot Mr. Met will also be in attendance at the Ziegfeld, dressed in formal wear for the occasion.
The 900 publicly available tickets have already sold out — the Mets’ promoters sweetened the pot with trading cards and two upper reserve tickets to the Sept. 10 Braves/Mets home game for every $10 movie ticket purchased. The showing at the Ziegfeld is the result of a partnership between the team, movie theater advertiser Screenvision and SNY.
“It has been very well received,” noted Howard, who said the cost of promotion for the event was “air.” The Mets’ 400,000-member email list gave the screening the push it needed to sell out over the course of a week.
The screening isn’t entirely unique — the Red Sox have a similar program for their home games, born of necessity after the demand for seats at Fenway Park grew greater than the venue’s capacity. The Mets don’t sell out Shea Stadium, but they are well on their way to breaking attendance records during the season. The Mets led the second-place Phillies by six games in the National League East prior to their game on Monday.