Personal Seat Licenses. We’ve heard about them as this amorphous concept for which people in other cities have to pay so that their teams can draw in more revenue. We know that some football teams charge outrageously high prices for what amounts to the right to buy tickets for certain seats.
And now starting in a few seasons, PSLs are coming to New York. The Giants, Super Bowl champions, have announced that every season ticket in their new stadium will be sold via PSLs. These prices for these PSLs will run from $1000 to $20,000, and these licenses serve as lifetime guarantees for that seat. It is a one-time payment of an arm and a leg.
I write about this briefly now because of the attention I’ve paid to Yankee ticket prices. Yes, the top seats new stadium is going to be expensive, but the prices are a far, far cry from those we see in other sports. A longtime RAB regular Steve wrote in about this story this morning:
To be fair to the Yankees you should comment on this. Can a regular guy go to see a Giant game anymore, or do you need to know someone? At least you can go to the Bronx with a buddy, have a couple of beers and be under the $300 mark.
Of course, the PSL issue and the price tag for a Giants game are seemingly two separate stories. Football games are very nearly prohibitively expensive and yet most teams have waiting lists that stretch on for years for season tickets. Why? Because they are only eight home games a season, and there is a limited supply for something in high demand. It isn’t affordable — of fun — to see the Knicks anymore.
In a way, this is the great irony of baseball and our complaints about ticket prices. As relatively expensive as it can be to go a Yankee game, it’s still pretty cheap. For example, I recently bought decent Tier Reserve seats for Monday night’s sold-out Yankees-Rangers game for a few bucks over face value off of StubHub. Never would I be able to do that for a Giants game.
For a while, fans have dreaded the PSLs. They fear that baseball teams will begin to sell them for season ticket holders in new stadiums, and sports business exports have guessed that teams could draw in upwards of $40 million off the bat for PSLs. The Cubs are debating it, and rumors have swirled around the Yanks’ ticket holder plans in the new stadium. But again, I think it’s a matter of economics. There are 81 home games, and if teams start charging seat licenses, season ticket holders may opt to buy on a game-by-game basis.
The economics of sports tickets is a prickly issue. Teams set prices; secondary markets set the true value. In the end, baseball remains one of our country’s more affordable sports, and we need to look only at the new Giants Stadium rising in New Jersey to remember why.