Feb
23

The Yankee impact on ticket sales

By

Tickets and ticket sales are a hot topic among Yankee fans these days. For the most part, the news covers the same old story: Long-time Yankee fans are upset with the way the Yankees have handled season-ticket packages. Meanwhile, those of us hoping for single-game tickets have been waiting and waiting and waiting.

As Opening Day draws near, however, the more academic side of ticket sales and attendance figures is beginning to emerge. Last Friday, Shysterball highlighted a profile of the frontiers of baseball analysis. In Cleveland, the Indians’ ticket office has engaged, in a thorough analysis of ticket sale patterns. As expected, the Yankees are a big draw.

Using statistical analysis of ticket purchases to understand the preferences and price limits of their fans, the Indians learned that fireworks after a game draw an additional 4,000 fans; every one-degree temperature drop below 70 Fahrenheit costs them 300; and when the New York Yankees come to town, attendance jumps 11,000.

The Major League Baseball club is at the forefront of using statistical analysis to design pricing. The team says its plan will increase ticket revenue 5 percent this season as the U.S. skids into its worst economic decline since the Great Depression.

“The goal was to do a better job figuring out what people were willing to pay for their product,” said Vince Gennaro, 57, a Purchase, New York-based consultant who managed the research project. “Where could we add value to convince them to make the purchase or decrease the price where demand is lower?”

Gennaro, by the way, is a leading member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Meanwhile, in a separate attendance-focused article — again referred to us by Shysterball — Jon Bois examines the impact new stadiums have on local revenue. While he concludes that the Yanks and Mets may not enjoy the revenue they expect, his findings are flawed. He bases his conclusions on projections of stadium capacity without giving nod to the fact that the Yanks’ — and Mets’ — new parks are significantly smaller than the old ones. The Yankees and Mets will do just fine with their revenue streams despite the economy.

So what does this all mean? Well, it means that a salary cap wouldn’t make much sense. The Yankees are a preeminent team in baseball. Opposing fans head out in droves to catch them in action, and limiting their ability to put a top product on the field would eventually do more harm to the overall health of the sport than it would go good. The Yankees haven’t won the World Series in 2000, and in baseball, economics will always trump that red-herring hunt for a fair notion of competitive balance.

Categories : Analysis

39 Comments»

  1. Do we really need statistical analysis to determine the Yankees draw a lot of extra fans?

    • Whozat says:

      It’s always good to verify one’s assumptions. AND to quantify the boost.

    • I plan my ticket prices for the year based on what I see with my own eyes.

      ——————

      Seriously, though, what is it with the “do we really need statistical analysis to determine ______________” concept? Yes, we need statistical analysis to determine it. Whatever it is.

      Because what we believe may, in fact, be wrong. The odds may be small, but is there really a good point of argument for not even checking? Do we have to shoot dogs or kick our mothers in the stomach in order to do statistical analysis?

      Statistical analysis, at it’s absolute worst, confirms what we already know. And, here’s the important part: confirming what we already know is a GOOD THING.

  2. Whitey14 says:

    I’m glad somebody finally did the research to prove what Bill Veeck was saying all those years ago….people come out to the ballpark be entertained. He used Fireworks in every town he ever ran a team in and was routinely chastised for it by the “Lords”. I’m not sure it should have taken more than a cursory glance though to prove that your team will draw better when a rival or a very good team is in town. The temperature piece was interesting though as I’ve sat through rain delays and endured sunburns to watch a ball game. I mean, if I pay for the ticket, nothing short of an emergency will keep me from going to the game. Certainly not because it’s 69 instead of 70, that’s just wacky…

    • Eh, I assume the degrees of temperature thing really only applies to non-Yankee-non-Red-Sox teams, to clubs that don’t sell out all their tickets for the whole year by March.

      For plenty of Indians games, there’s still tickets available by gameday. And, on those days, the temperature determines how much walk up business you get. If it’s 70 degrees and sunny, you may call your boys and see who’s down to going to the ballpark that night. If it’s 69, you may say to yourself “It’s gonna get cold, might as well go home and watch it on the tube.”

      • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

        Yeah, I LOVE going to games but HATE going in April. You sit there, freezing your ass off. Its too cold to enjoy the game and the games just don;t mean enough yet.

        I’ll sit in 40 degrees all night for a ALCS/WS game, but not one in April vs the Orioles.

    • Don W says:

      The real story was glossed over here and it would look pretty good on a T-shirt:

      The New York Yankees, 375% better than FIREWORKS!

  3. Monument Park says:

    I had (past tense) the smallest plan last year in the lodge – 8 games which was a $55 ticket. With the 8 game plane gone I put in for the 12 game plan with a choice of either a $70 or $50 seat. The only thing I was offered was the bleachers. The economy must be great in the Bronx!!!

  4. Manimal says:

    Where are the freaking single game tickets! Us One-game-a-year-er’s need tickets too!

  5. Bill N. says:

    When do they go on sale ? Most teams started on the 19th.

    • jsbrendog says:

      i got my wrigley opening day tickets on the 20th.

    • Rich M says:

      The rumor is early March. It is delayed until all the full and partial plans have been relocated to the new park.

    • So what does this all mean? Well, it means that a salary cap wouldn’t make much sense. The Yankees are a preeminent team in baseball. Opposing fans head out in droves to catch them in action, and limiting their ability to put a top product on the field would eventually do more harm to the overall health of the sport than it would go good.

      But the assumption you make there is that a league with a capped, less-star-studded Yankees team would mean that the Yankee-road-game attendance spike would disappear and no corresponding new team road-game spike would occur. It’s possible that in a league with cap (and floor) induced parity that while the Yankees may no longer be a big draw, that teams like the Orioles, Twins, Padres, and Marlins would become slightly better draws, no? That the reason the Yankees are a draw is that we have stars, so if you spread the stars around you may precipitously lessen the financial boon to other AL teams of the two weekends the Yankees come to town but that may be offset by marginally better attendance for the marginally improved, marginally more interesting other 28 teams in the league?

      In the NFL, fans buy tickets to the home games of their teams virtually regardless of the opponent; they just want to see their team and they trust that the game will be interesting and compelling. Even if it’s the Lions. (Although I’ll grant that the NFL is a horrible comp for baseball, since they’re planning for 8 home games at not 81.)

      In baseball, Indians fans may really want to see the Indians-Yankees series because they know they’ll see good baseball, which is good for MLB revenue, but the flipside of the coin is that Indians fans avoid the Indians-Mariners series like the plague because they perceive it as a glorified PCL game. In eliminating the one good thing, you may in fact fix the many bad things. You can’t necessarily say that using a cap to level the talent (and thus, end the Yankees revenue bump phenomenon) automatically means that overall revenue declines, I think.

  6. pat says:

    Good thing they use the latest sabermetrics to figure out ticket sales and not say, for salary abritration or elias rankings. Long live total chances !!

  7. mustang says:

    Well add me to the list of fans that got fucked. I lost my Sunday 15 game plan and got a take it or leave it 12 game weekday plan. I took it.
    I lost Yanks-Mets at the Stadium, which I was going to swap for Yanks-Mets at Citifield. I did get better seats and kept the Red Sox game. To be honest with the nightmare stories I have been hearing I’m happy that I got what I did. I wish single-game ticket buyers all the luck in the world.
    There is no recession in Yankee-land.

    • LostOurHeads says:

      I’ve heard over and over again that people who had partial plans were going to either be in the bleachers (and not the good ones with the Creatures) or lose their plans altogether. But how can you lose your plan? Are seats gone? Did a lot of partial plan holders go to full season and now those seats are gone? It seems like they’re discouraging the smaller plans so why even offer them? They’re still going to offer them, I understand, even after everyone is seated.

      • mustang says:

        I don’t know good questions. Whatever partial plan seats they offer to the public after the dust settles from the relocation are going to be shit. Remember people who reject their partial plans get put in a pool by seniority for the seats they prefer. So whatever is left after that is going on sale. Which wouldn’t be much.
        Like said good luck on single tickets.

      • mustang says:

        Also remember that the people being relocated are not only the ones who lost seats to the luxury boxes, but also anyone who had partial plans anywhere on field level. The Yankees no longer offer 15 game plans or lower on field level. That’s a lot of people pushing up to the Main level.

  8. KB says:

    First, there are a few thousand seats less, so some seats are really just gone. More importantly though, full season ticket holders had first choice and many choose less expensive seats in areas where partial plan holders formerly sat. There are a whole bunch of tickets left, but they are in the premium locations and cost hundreds per ticket per game. Check out today’s Post, there is a full page ad mentioning that you can get the best field level seats for full, 40 or 20 game packages. On the other hand, if you want to pay $20-$40 per game in the upper deck, you are out of luck. There is a recession in Yankeeland- it just is appearing in a slightly different manner.

    • mustang says:

      Thanks for the information i stand corrected.

    • Ben K. says:

      I’d say that mustang has a point when he says there’s no recession in Yankeeland and KB has a point too. But it’s not really a recession as much as it is a market correction. Fans with season ticket packages are happy to pay around what they were paying, but in no economy would many of them be too thrilled with 81-game plans at those Premium Seat prices. Perhaps in a better economy, the Yanks would have fewer premium location seats available, but they still wouldn’t be selling that well.

      • mustang says:

        “no economy would many of them be too thrilled with 81-game plans at those Premium Seat”

        Thats why they might not sell out the Stadium and those Premium Seat well probably be the only seats left for single game ticket buyers.

        • KB says:

          Ben- agreed completely. Got lazy and didn’t want to go further, but that is exactly the issue. The timing on making thousands of seats exponentially more expensive was horrendous. The Jets and Giants are about to find that out too- the Jets just sent their updated seating options to season ticket holders- I expect a lot of empty “premium seats”.

  9. CJ says:

    i just got off the phone with the yankees relocation number. i went from a sunday plan, seniority of 2004, to a 15 game mid week plan, which i did accept. i asked since i accepted my tickets can i at least upgrade my seat location. i explained that i have heard people are not accepting their mid week game plans and that i would like to upgrade before those seats go to the pool. they told me NO, all declined offers go to the pool. which means someone who has less seniority than me could get a better plan or seat because they didnt accept their first offer. this doesnt seem fair either. very frustrating.

    • mustang says:

      ” could get a better plan”

      The key word being COULD. You can also get worst or nothing at all at least your in that the way I look at it. I agree with you I’m in the same boat as you. I think they should at least give us a chances at the seats in the pool.

  10. DocBooch says:

    There are roughly 5000 seats less in the new stadium plus the roughly 5000 fans who had to downgrade their seats buts it got too expensive which leaves 10000 less seats available for the partial ticket plan holders. I was trying to get a Sunday Plan package but it looks like that is a pipe dream at this point.

  11. DocBooch says:

    where’s the edit button when you need it…..buts = because

  12. [...] Ben at River Ave. Blues has this post analyzing the benefits of having the Yankees as the visiting [...]

  13. mustang says:

    ” Check out today’s Post, there is a full page ad mentioning that you can get the best field level seats for full, 40 or 20 game packages.”

    I bet the Yankees end up offering 15, 12, and 11 game plans for those field level seats. They seem to be having a hard time selling them.

  14. [...] see his raw data. Perhaps you’ll find a conclusion in the numbers. After all, if the Indians are doing it, so can [...]

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