HOUSTON -- If the Astros have their way, the upper decks at Minute Maid Park will be filled with kids for the rest of the summer.
The team unveiled an unprecedented ticket promotion on Thursday in which kids 14 years old and under can attend games for free in selected seating areas until Aug. 23. Fans will receive two free tickets for children with the purchase of each full price adult ticket purchased in the Mezzanine, View Deck 1 or View Deck 2.
The promotion, announced by club owner Drayton McLane, is called "Kids Free All Summer."
"The economy still is struggling and school is just over for everyone and with all the young people here, the Astros are going to do something they've never, ever done," McLane said. "One of the things I really enjoy about baseball is it's a family sport. I walk the concourses and see the families coming to the games, and that's how I learned to appreciate it as a youngster is going with my father to games."
Tickets for the "Kids Free All Summer" promotion will be available for purchase beginning at 9 a.m. CT on Friday at the Astros box office or online at astros.com.
Because of the ongoing recession, attendance is down across baseball. The Astros were averaging 28,897 fans per game through 33 games this year, down from 35,826 through 33 games last year.
"Even people that have good jobs and know they're going to have it are concerned with the recession and how long it's going to last," McLane said. "They're concerned with how they spend their money. We felt this was an important thing for families to be together, come to ballgames and enjoy baseball."
The "Kids Free All Summer" promotion is one of many ticket options that the Astros are offering this season. The "Price Matters" package, which is for 10 select dates, offers fans the opportunity to purchase a ticket, hot dog, potato chips and a soda for $10. The "All You Can Eat Thursdays" promotion includes a ticket and all you can eat for just $20 for all Thursday Astros games.
The Astros also offer a $4 kids meal at every game. Outfield Deck seats are available for $1 for kids and $7 for adults for all games.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.