- Associated Press - Monday, March 3, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - It’s a story familiar to Minnesota Vikings fans: sticker shock over rising ticket prices for a new stadium funded in part by public money. But in this case, it’s followers of the St. Paul Saints minor league baseball team who are feeling the pinch.

The Saints are due to open their $63 million downtown ballpark in 2015. The cost of adult season tickets is going up in some sections of the park, and more than doubling behind home plate.

Chris Bothe has held the same four front-row seats behind home plate at Midway Stadium since the Saints’ first year in 1993. But with his prime seats scheduled to bump from the current $550 to $1,225 in the new park, Bothe will move to behind the third-base dugout.

“We decided not to pay the higher rate, so we’re disappointed,” said Bothe, a St. Paul attorney. “This is a situation where Saints’ ownership is trying to maximize revenue any way they can, and they weren’t making enough revenue in the seats behind home plate.”

Saints general manager Derek Sharrer told the Minneapolis Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1hYsi5m ) that the prime seats will have amenities not seen at Midway — wide, padded seats and wait staff.

“Behind home plate will be a premium experience that hasn’t existed at Midway Stadium,” Sharrer said. “What we’ve done to reconcile that is to work hard to find comparable experiences in the new ballpark that can be offered for the same price.”

“Yes, you can get seats at the same price,” Bothe said. “But they aren’t anywhere comparable to what they were before.”

Compared with pro sports around the Twin Cities, Saints games will still be relatively affordable in the new park.

While the prices of season tickets are going up, Sharrer said the cost for single-admission seats, now $6 to $22 for adults, will be $5 to $28 per ticket in the new ballpark (not including youth and senior discounts).

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com