What price seats at New York’s new stadiums?

Shea seats selling fast
C.J. Henry to play for NCCA runner up Memphis

As the openings of two new baseball stadiums draw closer and a new football stadium grows in the Meadowlands, ticket prices are in the news these days. The most recent warning sign on tickets comes to us from Times scribe Richard Sandomir. In Tuesday’s paper, he wrote about rising ticket prices and the fan outrage that goes along with the increases.

Even as fans of the Mets, the Yankees, the Giants and the Jets look forward to state-of-the-art stadium architecture, better sightlines, wider concourses and more bathrooms, some of them are also facing startling increases in ticket costs during a serious economic downturn.

The teams are confident market research supports the increases, but season-ticket holders say the price they are being asked to pay in the new stadiums — the Mets’ $800 million Citi Field, the $1.3 billion Yankee Stadium and the $1.6 billion (and climbing) Jets-Giants stadium — is turning them into something other than fans. Instead, interviews with two dozen fans indicated, they are starting to feel like unwitting bankers…

Tickets for the best seats at the 85-year-old Yankee Stadium, which sold for $1,000 a seat this season, will jump at the new ballpark to $2,500; in other areas of the stadium, they will range from $135 to $500 for season tickets. Prices for single-game tickets, which ranged from $14 to $400 this season, will be released later.

The Yankees, to be fair, have said that a majority of their tickets won’t see price increases in 2009. What 2010 and beyond hold is anyone’s guess.

Meanwhile, as Sandomir writes, the fans are complaining about the jump in price because they’re not getting anything in return. We as fans don’t necessarily want the new stadiums, but we’re being asked to front the costs of the fancier facilities, Margarita bars and steakhouses through significantly higher ticket prices.

The teams, as the excerpt above notes, believe they’ll get enough corporate buyers for the season tickets to justify the price increases, but how does that impact the fan base? If the only people who can afford games now are the suits at New York’s major corporations and Wall Street firms, what happens to the fans without obscene paychecks and Park Ave. penthouses who have long come to Yankee games and have long sat in seats that, while an expensive luxury, weren’t priced out of budgets for all but the richest of New Yorkers?

I know full well that baseball stadiums and ticket prices respond to the market forces. I know that, on StubHub, the cheapest tickets are selling for well above face value because there are only 14 games left in regular season Yankee Stadium history. But I have to wonder if teams owe to their fans to keep face-value prices somewhat reasonable. Free-marketers will say no, and the Yankees aren’t about to tear down their nearly-finished new stadium. But call me sentimental; the new place with its high-priced crowd just won’t be the same, and economics are indeed partly to blame for it.

Shea seats selling fast
C.J. Henry to play for NCCA runner up Memphis
  • http://www.replacementlevel.com/ Sean McNally

    HBO’s RealSports talked about this last night, and put the blame fairly or unfairly on StubHub, and the deals it has cut with sports leagues.

    Basically, the argument goes that by partnering with StubHub, teams got a database of what tickets were being sold for and essentially said: “Hey, we’re putting hundreds of millions of dollars into producing this product and selling it to fans at X dollars per ticket and those fans are taking that ticket and selling it at X+Y without assuming any of the risks that we have in producing this product.”

    As a result, they are, in essence adjusting the price to fit the demand curve (see, I did learn something in my 8:10 econ class! Hoo-ray!).

    The economist basically laid the rise in prices at fans’ feet, saying since there are fans willing to pay higher prices on the secondary market, then teams are making the sound economic decision.

    Eventually, demand will settle – the team will stop winning, or people will be priced off – and prices will follow suit.

    • pat

      was your brother on tv for the mlb draft or was that an inside joke at rlyw?

    • Chris

      One problem with looking at prices on stub hub is that it’s not the same as if all ticket prices were at that level. You’re essentially restricting supply because not every ticket is available on stub hub.

    • http://www.esellout.com Nick Nolan

      I am not giving up on the Wild Card for 2008 just yet! But I will say, the pitching in 2009 looks infinitely better than it does in 2008 and that reason tied in with the pitching of say a Tampa and/or Boston has me thinking that last game of the year in Yankee Stadium might spell the end! I am a 7 year season ticket holder now with the Bombers but when I was offered tickets for next year I jumped on the idea of selling my last game ever at Yankees Stadium tickets for nearly a grand total: http://www.esellout.com/ResultsGeneralAtVenue.aspx?kwds=New+York+Yankees&venid=68 So my loss was a gain as well! I am set for 2009 when the stars are lined up and Jeter and Jorge rebound with the refreshed and healthy staff!

      Let’s Go Yankees! But if we can’t win…I hope The Rays pound the $#!t out of Boston!

  • pat

    Obviously this sucks but there is literally nothing you can do about it. If you dont buy a ticket somebody else will and these sports teams know this which allows them to charge pretty much whatever they want. They own the premium product being put on display and can do what they want with it.
    On a sidenote, I pass Citi Field on the 7 everyday and have to admit that it looks pretty cool from the outside.

    • jsbrendog

      at the same time i feel the yankees are underestimating the loss of the “yankee stadium factor”

      toursists coming to NY saw yankee stadium as a must see i feel because of its history but take it down and the mystique disappears. why would they want to go now? sure some will but less will. this might not have any effect or just a small one.

      im just rambling lol dont mind me

  • MD

    save your money, get a big screen hi-def TV, pop a brewsky, and chill………no need to mortgage the future just to go to a game, unless you are making a few hundred grand yourself……..IMO

    • ChrisS

      I concur. I generally have an issue with large crowds and limit the number of times I actually go to sporting events (I’m much more comfortable at a, say, KC Royals Sept. game than I would be at a Yankee playoff game). I like minor league ball parks. A couple of thousand people, no lines for anything, good times.

      Otherwise, it’s off to my neighborhood sports bar or in the comfort of my own home.

  • Mike W.

    I am a season ticket holder for the Yanks and am nervously awaiting my relocation package details for next year. The new prices seem to be absolutely ridiculous for a baseball game, although I am happy that the Yanks always put a large amount of money into their team. I am sure that they will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on free agents this offseason. What other team can say that each year their team spends hundreds of millions each offseason (although it doesn’t seem to be helping lately…)

  • Chris

    Why is it a given that just because corporate people buy the tickets they will be less avid fans? Wouldn’t you be pretty enthusiastic about a game if you had to pay $2500 for your ticket?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Circumstantial evidence. The thousands of empty main box seats well before the ends of games is, in my mind, a testament to the less avid fans who are sitting in the corporate seats. Now, not everyone sitting there won’t be avid fans, but I don’t think I’m overreaching if I say that the vast majority of those fans won’t be of the avid variety.

      • pat

        In my experience those corporate box seats are used to woo potential clients from out of state or out of country to do business with my company. Its like brining a date to an expensive dinner hoping they will put out.

        • jsbrendog

          my girlfriend’s dad’s company has box seats at shea and ive never seen anyone sit there (my friend’s season tickets are right behind them). He’s been there 15 years and has no access to them.

      • http://2009 Haggs

        I’m with Ben.

        If you’ve ever been lucky enough to go to a World Series game at the Stadium, it’s completely different than going to a regular season big game (bleachers might be an exception).

        The prices are ridiculous, so plenty of people get in who go to the game just to say they were there, and they couldn’t pick Robinson Cano out of a lineup. New York is an event town.

        Next year will be the same thing. A lot of people will be going to the game to see The Stadium, not to see the game. For a while the Stadium will be bigger than the game, and it will draw people to the Bronx that ordinarily wouldn’t be caught dead there.

        And to your question “Wouldn’t you be pretty enthusiastic about a game if you had to pay $2500 for your ticket?”, I think it’s important to note that most of these people probably aren’t paying for their tickets. The company/client pays.

      • ChrisS

        Agreed, on the whole. But it depends sometimes. I’ve been the guest of a high-end firm at a NFL game at the Meadowlands. The season tickets are bought by the firm and given to employees as perks. Sometimes it’s a third year associate, sometimes it’s the dudes in the mailroom. And when I lived in Boston (back in the early 90s), I would get access to the corporate seats (not very good ones, mind you) quite often if only because I was the closest person to Fenway and could make arrangements on short notice (like 6:30pm, “Chris, no one’s going tonight, you want the seats?”).

        But yeah, mostly they’re for clients and half the time no one takes them anyway.

  • Geno

    We should donate the sales of the chairs to little league teams throughout the Bronx.

    • pat

      that would be too altruistic. TO THE GULAG FOR YOU

  • jsbrendog

    at this point its better to watch ti at home in hd on your widescreen lcd tv with 12 beers for 8 instead of one and a comfy couch. The only reason not to have doe this previously was because you were going to yankee stadium. but by tearing that down and riasing prices I can’t in good conscience go unless someone i know has tickets and invites me.

    i love the yankees and will continue to watch as many games as possible and yell at the screen when something happens good or bad and yell at the paper when its got a stupid article in it and overall love my team for better or worse (hopefully better) but im just not gon do it anymore….

    but i will continue my quest to visit as many parks as possible. first and foremost wrigley, got fenway and yankee stadium, and wrigley is third most important

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Don’t you kind of have to visit more than 2 parks before you say you’re on a “quest to visit as many parks as possible?” (Just poking fun.)

      • jsbrendog

        oh of course, ive been to many others as well lol i just mentioend the superceeding important ones first lol

  • Jon W.

    I know it’s painful for the die hard fans, but that’s capitalism. As nice as it would be for private companies to throw their loyal fans a bone, and not rip them off too much, or price the little guy out, they’re well within their right to do so. What really gets me is that the taxpayers of NYC are funding a large portion of a stadium that many of them will never (or rarely) get to attend because prices will be so high. But don’t worry folks, at least the good folks on the New York city council will have prime seats (at no cost to them) for all the big games.

    • ceciguante

      the part that really gets you, that taxpayer funding issue?
      that’s capitalism too.

      • Jon W.

        Taxpayer funded stadiums is capitalism? Since when? Forcing people to pay for a stadium they won’t attend, when the revenue earned in that stadium is pocketed by a private company is corporate welfare, not capitalism. It seems like we’ve gotten so used to that practice that the majority of us have no idea what capitalism really is.

        • steve (different one)

          the part that really gets you, that taxpayer funding issue?
          that’s capitalism too.

          actually, it isn’t.

          • ceciguante

            you’re both correct, but you missed my political innuendo: it most certainly is a part of the kind of capitalism we live by today. corporate graft is very much a part of the (unwritten) rules.

  • scott

    How under any circumstance can even a corporation justify spending over 800,000 dollars on a box at yankee stadium? This bubble will burst..it took about 3 years of winning before all the bandwagon fans jumped on and made the stadium a hot ticket…it will take alot less time for them to jump off if the yanks dont win. We get to pay top dollar to watch A-Rod chase the HR record and other teams win championships…..The big question is if the yanks tank next year will the morons who spend 2500 per ticket be able to opt-out of their contracts.

    • jsbrendog

      haha. you know, ive been saying this for a couple years now. maybe if they start losing again i’ll be able to go to some games again and won’t want to punch everyone who’s there when i do because they know nothing about baseball or the team.

      i like winning just as much as the next guy but when you do it for as long as the yankees have i find it attracts people who deserve an open handed slap to the mouth because theyre so obnoxious but don’t care unless they win….

      oh well.

      • cult of basebaal

        it’s not the losing, it’s the economy …

        NYC is in the process of shedding something like 60k financial jobs, many of them that won’t be coming back … the easy credit money gravy train has run off the rails and it’s never coming back in nearly the same way … from main street to wall street, people and corporations are going to have a rude awakening about what the market will bear and what people are going to be willing to spend, when they actually have to *pay* for things …

  • NYFan50

    My experience at the ASG:

    I had decent seats, lower part of the upper deck near 1B. I was told by people sitting around me that on StubHub they were going for $8k per seat. I don’t know if that’s true.

    By the time the 5th inning had ended, a good 15 seats around me were vacant. Those “fans” had gone home. By the time the 9th rolled around, I’d witnessed maybe 40 people in my section leave. I don’t really blame the people that left at like 1AM and had to work the next day.

    Looking around the stadium by the time the game ended, I’d say well more than half of the seats were empty. But you know where there were zero empty seats? The bleachers. From where I was sitting, at least, it didn’t appear as if a single fan had left the bleachers, while half the “fans” in the better park seats were long gone.

    I think we’re going to start seeing an awful lot more of that.

    • jsbrendog

      i was at the hr derby and had a 2 or so hr commute home and work at 9 the next day but that meant nothing. even if it HAD gone til 3 am ida stayed.

      seeing what hamilton did and feeling the energy of the crowd urging him on was like being at a playoff game.

  • http://highandtight.blogspot.com Mr. Faded Glory

    FWIW, when Petco opened the Padres promised little no no ticket price increases for most seats. They were right, for the first year. The following season, everything was jacked through the roof.

    I’m glad I’m single without kids – I can still afford a ballgame.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    Such is the burden of a large market team.

    • RustyJohn

      Lol…terrible- they have to pay for the $200 million payroll and a billion dollar stadium in order to compete every year.

      • pat

        the billion dollar stadium will pay for itself in about 5 years and payroll is covered by revenues too, the yankee franchise with the yes network and all that is actually self sustaining.

  • RustyJohn

    Reality time- you don’t have any “right” to attend a game. “Markets” are not to blame. Just like with gas, which has quite a bit more inelastic demand than baseball tickets, if the cost goes up at some point fewer people will go and the team will get less revenue.

    The reliance or belief that corporations are going to pony up all this money for box seats at the moment is pretty absurd, this isn’t 1998 or 2005 anymore- let me see, I am Citigroup or Merrill Lynch or any number of other institutions that are currently operating in the red and on the brink of insolvency. What should I do with my money? Fuck, buy Yankee tickets. Great idea.

    Further, if they do sell those seats which are empty by the 7th inning to corporate sponsors instead of fans it is less revenue for concessions and other revenue streams.

    Although I don’t live in New York and won’t have to pay for the stadium in taxes, my advice would be to not elect Leftists or Corporate Rightists who are fleecing you for this and 8 million other taxes, fees or tolls in the city to support the Corporate Welfare city that is NYC.

    In short, do what so many millions of us have already done- move down South or out West (minus California) where you won’t get sodomized with state and city income taxes and a toll booth every 100 feet and can watch Rays or Marlins game for $7 in the cozy confines of Tropicana Field or, in my case, Safeco- I got four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for $50 and got to see the M’s win the same night the Yanks lost. Yes, it is not the same as Yankee stadium by any stretch, but I can see Ichiro play.

    If people can reduce their driving by 5% once gas hits 4 bucks a gallon, they can skip a ball game. Go to a bar, spend 20 bucks on beers and pool, that money will probably go to someone local instead of Bobby Abreu’s family in Venezuela, and watch it on the tube and tell the city and the Steinbrenners to go fuck their mothers.

    • jsbrendog

      what if their mother’s are hot?

      • RustyJohn

        Have you seen the Steinbrenners? That is not an issue.

    • Jersey

      Nobody else has argued someone has a “right” to go to the game. So….who are you quoting? And “markets are not to blame?” How do you think ticket prices get set, magic?

      • RustyJohn

        “But I have to wonder if teams owe to their fans to keep face-value prices somewhat reasonable. Free-marketers will say no, and the Yankees aren’t about to tear down their nearly-finished new stadium. But call me sentimental; the new place with its high-priced crowd just won’t be the same, and economics are indeed partly to blame for it.”

        When I say the market is not to blame, I am pointing out the inherent contradiction that some are making that these high prices are a problem and are changing the dynamic of the stadium- first, the stadium is going to be different because it is a new stadium. Period- it wasn’t built 80 years ago and it hasn’t gone through some half-assed refurbishment. Any new stadium is going to have higher end services and sores that weren’t at a stadium 80 years ago. The reason? The customer/ticket buyer demands more. You can go into any newer stadium and find a friggin’ sushi bar or steak house or restaurant. The majority of the costs for building the stadium aren’t to put in a steakhouse- it is the cost of the brick and mortar. So, they could have the same exact stadium as the old one (minus the falling cieling tiles and rotting structure) with the same old concessions and, guess what, the prices of the tickets would be the same as they are charging if they had those concessions.

        I grew up in New York and my dad was a cop at the 4-4. Other than being able to sneak into games, the ability of the average family to go to more than a couple of games a season disappeared a decade and a half ago. It has already been acknowledged that the corporate seats currently located at the stadium are empty by the 7th inning- so chargin more for those very same seats is going to change the dynamic how again?

        As far as the “right” to a game- 1/2 the comments and the author have bemoaned the price increases as unfair or unjust. Fairness= all the rules are known before hand and apply equally to everyone.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          While I disagree with some of your opinions here, I’d just like to point out that it’s incorrect to state “the market is not to blame.” While you’re trying to make that point, your second paragraph here is exactly why the market is to blame.

          Anyway, customer/ticket buyers in this case are not demanding more. Otherwise, the Yanks wouldn’t be on the verge of setting their fourth straight attendance record. The Yankees, in this case, are demanding more because the new stadium enables them to charge more. There’s no rational need to replace Yankee Stadium that doesn’t include a market evaluated solely by the Yankees and for the team’s benefit. Fans would continue to flock to the current Yankee Stadium even if no plans for a new stadium were in the works.

          • RustyJohn

            Um, if the customer/ticket buyer buys a ticket, they are implictly demanding more. If they don’t want it, don’t buy it.

            Maybe I didn’t state it properly the first time- the market is not to blame was meant to be articulated as the following- you make it sound as if it is a bad thing that the team can bring in revenue and people are willing to pay for these tickets- it is a great thing- that much more money to spend on the field and hopefully field a winning team. Yes, you or I may not be able to afford to go to these gmes, but for most fans, who go to very few games anyhow, the consequence will be negligible. The average fan probably only goes to 2 or 3 games a year anyhow.

            The second part of that I should have articulated better was that the market works. If they charge too much for tickets (and, although I’m absolutely speaking out of my ass here, I think they have given the current economic conditions) they’ll suffer by losing revenue.

            As for attendance records, if this weren’t the last year the old stadium were around, I doubt their attendance would increase. They are putting a not-so superior product on the field. Next year they could probably get away with more of the same because the novelty of a new stadium will fill the seats, but beyond that they’ll have to justify those prices.

        • ceciguante

          Fairness= all the rules are known before hand and apply equally to everyone.

          there are no rules.
          this is a screw of the many in favor of the few.

          all i see is the yanks increasing prices to whatever level they choose, and all but the very richest fans getting priced out. the impact is a serious culture shift: baseball games are now for rich people, or on rare special occasions, for middle class folk to check out. like the opera.

          if that is not a sad turn of events, i don’t know what is.

          • RustyJohn

            That is pretty funny how you mention that you and (I don’t know how many others) pay $81,000 dollars, more than most people make in a year.and then complain about the game bieng for “rich people”.

            • RustyJohn

              Yes, the rules are known before hand- the rule being the known price- you must pay x number of dollars for a ticket.

            • ceciguante

              you misread it. i don’t pay for a share, i get a ticket or two a year from a friend. he (and a bunch of other people) split a package that cost $49K last year, $81K this year, and will cost some corporation $162K next year. i don’t think a few grand a year on tickets makes him “rich people,” but that’s relative i guess.

              • RustyJohn

                Um, in the grand scheme of things a “few grand” a year on baseball games when the median HOUSEHOLD income in the United States is 50K a year would probably mean he’s got some sizeable disposable income.

        • Jersey

          What are you, Randy Levine in disguise? I’m onto you, Randy.

  • ceciguante

    i have a ticket to tonite’s game, 9th row behind the plate. i get these on occasion from a family friend who is a season ticket holder for almost 40 years (he shares the package).

    last season these seats were $150. ($48.6k/season)
    this season these seats are $250. ($81k/season)
    next season equivalent = $500. ($162k/season) (233% increase in 2 yrs)

    this is disgusting. i’m going tonite to bid farewell to the “good seats,” which i’ll probably never sit in again. and this lifelong season ticket holder has to either sit in nosebleeds for the same price (insulting), or give up seats he’s had since the 70s.

    to do that to your fan base, your real fans…let’s just say i’m not over it, and although i’ve been maniacally supporting this team since the 70s, this is making me question my loyalty to them for the first time ever. they’ve gone too far this time.

    • Jersey

      If capitalism is creative destruction, maybe high ticket prices are creatively destroying part of the fan base? Hard to stay as interested if you’re priced out of tickets.

  • scott

    i hear with the 2500 dollar seats you get all the food and drinks included. If this is so i hope Steve Schirrippa gets seats from HBO and eats the yankees into bankruptcy. I think next summer i will take the family on a vacation to Tampa for a week and hit the Trop to see the yankees. It would still cost me less than one ticket at the stadium. Screw you Randy Levine and the Steinbrenners….if i wanted to watch a team of past their prime losers I could go out to watch the LI Ducks for six bucks.