Reds close out caravan with 'select-a-seat' event

Reds close out caravan with 'select-a-seat' event

CINCINNATI -- Despite it being late January, the field at Great American Ball Park appeared ready and a smattering of Reds fans were looking for their seats Sunday.

Of course, no baseball games were to be played on this day. It was all for the club's annual "select-a-seat" event for new and returning customers seeking season tickets for the 2015 season. Besides being motivated for the new season, many fans were well aware that having season tickets gained them access to tickets for the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati.

"Our attendance this morning has been outstanding," said Aaron Eisel, the Reds' vice president of tickets and business development. "People are excited about the All-Star Game at the end of the day. They know the only way to guarantee tickets is to be a season-ticket holder. They're coming out, sitting in their seats, walking the ballpark and picking what they want."

The club expected 400-500 potential customers to turn out for the event. Fans who purchase half-season or full-season packages qualified for the opportunity to purchase tickets to Opening Day and the All-Star Game.

The day was also once again intertwined with the completion of Reds Caravan, where all four legs of the tour appeared at the select-a-seat gathering for a fan question-and-answer session and to sign autographs.

"Merging it with the caravan has brought a whole new level of excitement," said Mark Schueler, senior director of ticket sales and service. "It's just a way for our season-ticket holders to get that face-to-face interaction with our players and management. It's a really cool event. We love that all of our caravans end here to get more people here for the Q&A. It's more opportunity to see players and get autographs."

Among those that participated were Reds manager Bryan Price, third baseman Todd Frazier, outfielder Billy Hamilton and catcher Brayan Pena. Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman moderated the Q&A session.

In 2013, the Reds had a full-season equivalent ticket base of more than 13,000 and it grew to 14,000 in 2014. The club goal is 15,000-15,500. Fans interested in season tickets that were unable to attend Sunday's event are still able to visit the ballpark Monday-Friday and pick seats in person with a sales representative.

Throughout Sunday, customers were milling the aisles of the stadium trying to find that perfect seat for the upcoming season.

"There are seats in the same row and it will take 10-15 minutes to get a decision," Schueler said. "Because they will sit in this one, talk about the angles and then move five feet down and talk about the angles, then move a row back and talk about that before finally making a decision.

"We always say this is where they're going to spend their summer, so we want to make sure they make the best decision possible and are happy with their seat. It makes their experience a lot better when you know where you're going to be sitting for all those games."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.