Welcome to BF&N, our very own West Ham season ticket holder, Jonny Gaffney…
Given I’ve spent the last 2 years falling in love with a sport I previously knew very little about, when the London Series was announced, I was excited… really excited! The opportunity for baseball to grow in the UK is huge, and I firmly believe that this is the first step on the road, not simply a “one-off” event.
As an added bonus, I’m also a West Ham season ticket holder, so I know the London Stadium well and find myself in the privileged position of knowing exactly which seats I’ll go for next week. However, a lot of people won’t, so I’ll try to help you decide!
Whilst the prices that we’ve seen this week are, in the majority, eye-watering, I STRONGLY believe that there are great opportunities to see the game(s), in good seats and at a reasonable cost. However, there just isn’t that many of them, so knowing where to look is key!
For those if you that don’t know, the London Stadium is typically configured in two ways. Football Mode (lower-bowl pushed forward) and Concert/ Athletics Mode (lower-bowl pushed back). The seating chart indicates that it is a “hybrid” that is to be deployed at the games, with key customisations to be made down the side lines to create the bleacher seats. Depending on how this is configured, it will mean big gaps between the upper and lower bowls behind first and third base, and has a massive impact on the quality of the seats available. So, I’ll break this down into each price category, and try to summarise the good, bad and ugly.
£30: Behind the screens at each end of the stadium. These are horrible seats, miles away from the action and looking straight over the gap mentioned above. You’ll feel like you’re in a tower block nearby, rather than at the game, so only buy if you want to soak up the atmosphere (and drink!).
£45: See above. Same as the £30 seats, but with an extra £15 a ticket on top.
£60: Exactly where I’ll be heading, although how there isn’t a price differential between sections here, I don’t know. Block 235 and 237 are best, as close to the front as possible. I sit one row in front for football matches, and these will give a decent view of the action, as well as easy access to the food/ beer court and are at right side of the stadium for access to the stations after the game. Try to get in the first 5-10 rows and in the central blocks. The added benefit here is some of these seats in 235-237 are “padded” given they are effectively “Premium” tickets at West Ham. Blocks 242-246, and 226-230 see similar issues to the cheaper tickets, and I’d avoid if possible.
£80: You’re a long way from the action, and I can’t see a benefit here over and above the £60 outfield seats above.
£120: If you’re prepared to pay, the lower bowl in the outfield will provide a good option, with great views of the bullpens. However, the rearmost seats are no better than the seats in 235/7 at half the cost. Blocks 254-256 and 216-218 are really tough to justify however with similar issues to the £80 seats.
£145/ £170: Now you’re getting a more traditional, upper deck, baseball view. If you are only going for 1 day, I’d pay extra and shoot for the £170 tickets and get closer to the game in 256-204, or 212-216. If you do go for the £170 seats, central positions are a long way up and back! Wider is definitely better here.
£220: I’d recommend the views you’ll get from the wider seats, as opposed to directly behind home plate. If you’re prepared to pay this amount of money, I’d be looking for 201-204 & 212-215. The outer bleacher seats look to be remarkably expensive however, and I would avoid.
Cat 2, 1 and Premium: The central seats behind Home Plate and the bleacher seats are really the only options here. Blocks 113-114, and 102-103 will give a really strange perspective on the game, being 30m wide of 1st and 3rd, looking directly ahead at the foul poles – avoid!
Hopefully that’s helped make a decision, but let’s all not forget the most important thing: MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL IS COMING TO THE UK! That’s seriously exciting in itself, and long may it continue.