Voucher program begins Brewers' 'Fan First' initiative

Voucher program begins Brewers' 'Fan First' initiative

Voucher program begins Brewers' 'Fan First' initiative

CHICAGO -- Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio promised recompense for fans enduring a difficult season on and off the field, and on Monday he delivered.

The club announced it would distribute a $10 voucher to every fan who passed through the Miller Park turnstiles in August, good for concessions, merchandise or tickets through the end of the season.

"This has been a challenging season for all of us, but the one thing that has never wavered has been the tremendous support we have received from fans who love the Brewers," Attanasio said. "We wanted to do something meaningful to show our appreciation, and we will strive to provide the best fan experience possible."

The Brewers expect to average better than 30,000 fans per game in August, so the first-of-its-kind program will cost the club in excess of $3.6 million. That exceeds the salary the Brewers would have paid Ryan Braun had he remained active for the remainder of the year.

In the wake of Braun's season-ending suspension without pay, Attanasio said the club was considering ways to give back to fans. The voucher program is the first of a series of initiatives, according to Monday's announcement.

"Different teams have done different things for their venues and fan base, [but] we have not found anyone who has done something this dramatic," Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger said. "This is a lot of money to give back to the fans. It's a lot of food, beverage, beer, merchandise and ticket discounts absorbed by this voucher. We haven't seen another team do this for an entire month, let alone a busy month.

"When Mark first challenged us to come up with something and proposed this concept, my initial reaction was we do something in September because it's the end of the season, and obviously from a financial perspective, its smaller crowds. But Mark said no, let's do something a little more dramatic and impactful. The best way to do that is do it in August when we have bigger crowds and has the benefit of being immediate. The Ryan Braun announcement is still fresh and raw in the minds of many fans. It's the first step in what will be a series of initiatives to reward our fans."

Groups of fans can combine their vouchers and use them toward everything from brats and beers to tickets to future games. They can be used anywhere in the ballpark with the exception of Friday's Front Row, portable merchandise stands, Miller Park Suites, the Johnson Controls Stadium Club and all-inclusive entertainment areas.

The Brewers are expected to announce more givebacks in what they are calling their "Fan First" program over the season's final two months.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.