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Mets' streak of sellouts on Opening Day is in jeopardy

The scoreboard displays a congratulatory message after R.A.

The scoreboard displays a congratulatory message after R.A. Dickey earned his 20th win of the season as the Mets defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field. (Sept. 27, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Mets' streak of 14 straight Opening Day sellouts is in jeopardy of ending on Monday when they start the season against the San Diego Padres. The Mets, however, say they are only a few thousand tickets shy of a sellout and remain optimistic they will pack the house.

On the team's website Thursday, tickets were still available throughout most of Citi Field for Monday's game. Still, the team says it is closer to a sellout this year than at the same time last year. The Mets reached a 42,080-ticket sellout last season in part because they benefited from "a tremendous walk-up," according to David Newman, the Mets' senior vice president of marketing and communications.

The last time the Mets did not sell out their first home game was 1998, when they drew an announced crowd of 48,142, about 5,000 less than Shea Stadium's capacity. In 1997, they drew only 21,981 to their opener.

Meanwhile, in the Bronx, the Yankees say their streak of 17 straight Opening Day sellouts will reach 18 when they open against the Boston Red Sox at the same time as the Mets' home opener.

However, sales for the second and third games of the season -- against the Red Sox Wednesday and Thursday night -- are "slightly off" pace from last season at this time, Yankees director of media relations Jason Zillo said. But he said last year the Yankees' second and third games fell on the weekend when ticket sales in April are typically higher.

The last time the Yankees did not sell out their first home game of the season was 1995, which marked the return of baseball after the players strike of 1994 canceled the World Series.

The Mets are coming off a season in which they drew a total of 2,242,803 fans to Citi Field, their lowest total in a decade.

They have been trying to boost ticket sales for Opening Day -- and beyond -- with a flurry of special offers, including one in which fans receive a free ticket to another game during the first homestand with the purchase of each Opening Day ticket. It is similar to deals they offered last year, too.

"We've had some special online offers leading up to Opening Day similar to what we did last year," Newman said. "We found that people responded to it in terms of the offers."

The least expensive ticket for Opening Day on the Mets' website, as of Thursday, was $50 for an upper deck seat. But that could change as Opening Day gets closer because of the Mets' dynamic pricing system, which is designed to alter the price of tickets in real-time to fall more in line with the current demand.

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