Tickets for opening day at Petco Park are at an all-time high, with some listed for more than $2,000. With the high demand, some season ticket holders are tempted to sell their seats, but they're more invested in the game.
"People have to make the decision that's right for them," said Paul Northcutt, a lifelong Padres fan and new season ticket holder. "This is more of an investment in an experience than an investment to turn a quick buck on."
Northcutt bought a season ticket pack for five seats at Petco Park in left field, enough for his wife and children to all go with him.
"We wanted to be within home-run range, hopefully," Northcutt said. "It's a good place to see the entire game as well."
But the pandemic has forced Petco Park to make some changes. Seats are grouped together into pods and attendance is limited to 20% of normal capacity. The ballpark can seat 42,455, but COVID restrictions limit that to just over 10,000 fans. Unfortunately for Northcutt, that meant changes to his tickets.
"We had to settle for different seats," Northcutt said. "It's a little frustrating, but I know it's nothing to do with them. They've been part of the solution. They've given us a lot of options with seat selections and to see the games we want to see."
Northcutt's regular season tickets are in Section 128, right next to the outdoor fence near the Western Metal Supply Building. He doesn't have tickets to Opening Day, but will be in the stands on Saturday in Section 328, at the very top left corner of the stands. Still, he's very excited to return to the park.
"They've invested a lot in the team," said Northcutt. "There's just a different vibe going around San Diego right now."
Not all season ticket holders will hold on to their seats. Northcutt said he's been tempted by the high prices, but ultimately he wants to give his kids the same experience he had growing up in San Diego.
"We want to spend time as a family at Padres' games," Northcutt said. "Anything that is an activity that has that feeling of normalcy is very valuable right now."
There are some restrictions in place for season ticket holders. In an email to NBC 7, the Padres' front office said those fans can only sell up to half of their total tickets online. Because of the pandemic, there are a few new rules as well: Seats can only be sold to California residents and have to be sold as a block.
"You can't break it up into two different groups," Northcutt said. "You can't sell two tickets to one person and three tickets to another. You have to sell it as a group of five."
Northcutt said he thinks having to buy multiple seats at once will limit demand, as well as the rule that only California residents can buy those tickets. Still, he's very excited for the first pitch.
"People are very anxious to get out and return to normal," Northcutt said. "The Padres more than likely have a greater number of season ticket holders than they have in a while. I'm part of an exclusive group but it's becoming less and less so."