With seats unsold, Yanks officials spar over ticket prices

Could another Moneyballer join the Yanks?
Open Thread: Yanks' offense erupts in 12-3 rout

As Opening Day draws near and the Yanks still haven’t sold out their new $2 billion playground, ticket pricing on both the political and economic sides of the issue has creeped back into the news.

In reverse order, we start with a Richard Sandomir piece in today’s Times. The Yankees are a bit concerned about the number of unsold premium seats. The Yanks are taking out ads in all of the city’s major papers and are generally finding it tough to fill seats that cost a few hundreds a game for 81 games.

Sandomir also relates more tales of woe from the fans, and we at River Ave. Blues received our own story this week. Writes a reader who will remain anonymous:

I have read in your blog and others how the Yankee ticket office has treated past season ticket holders pretty bad. Well you can add prospective season ticket holders that put down $1,065.00 deposit for the full 81 games back in early December. I checked with the Yankees in Dec. and was told it would be January before I heard. At the end of January I was told it would be the end of February. Now at the beginning of March I spoke to a very rude person in the Yankee ticket office that said that I would not hear until the end of March. That is, if they have anything at all to offer. But “don’t worry,” you won’t lose any money. I was told that I could have my deposit back or just leave it with them as a down payment for the 2010 season. Like I’m going to do that.

As companies these days face debates over customer service, the Yanks are intent on pushing an old maxim — the customer is always right — to its limits. While in a good economy, the Yanks would have filled their premium seats with high-rolling financial clients and the like, in a bad economy, the team and their customer service reps just come off looking bitter.

That said, what Richard Brodsky is proposing is rather preposterous. While I’ve supported Brodsky in his efforts to get to the bottom of the sketchy accounting surrounding the land underneath the new Yankee Stadium, his latest clash with the Yanks is a bit extreme. On Friday, Randy Levin and Brodsky clashed horns over the Assembly representative’s desires for price-controlled tickets in publicly-funded stadiums. Reports Bloomberg News:

New York Yankees President Randy Levine said he opposes state lawmakers’ efforts to dictate prices for tickets sold at sports stadiums built with public support such as the franchise’s new ballpark in the Bronx.

State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, a Manhattan Democrat, has introduced a bill requiring that 7 percent of tickets sold to any sporting event carry “affordable prices” as a condition of pro-sports facilities receiving state or local benefits…

“If you’re charging too much, people will not come,” Levine said at an assembly committee hearing today in lower Manhattan. “If we’re not selling enough tickets to pay it back, the responsibility is on us to adjust.”

While the hearings were ostensibly about tax documents and tax-exempt bond financing, Levine and Brodsky were yelling at each other, according to Richard Sandomir’s account.

The problem with Kavanagh’s proposal is that teams already have affordable pricing. As far as sports in New York go, it’s still far cheaper to see a Yankee or Met game than it is to get tickets to a game in the Meadowlands or a Knicks game at the Garden. The economics of baseball and demands of an 81-game schedule preclude overly expensive tickets, and this move seems like the Assembly sticking its nose into something it should just leave alone.

Could another Moneyballer join the Yanks?
Open Thread: Yanks' offense erupts in 12-3 rout
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    More people need to go to road games.

  • Ace

    2 seasons ago I went to a Yanks vs Indians series in Cleveland. I didn’t have a ticket for the 1st game of the series but I went down to the Jake anyway. I ended up buying an upper deck seat for under $10. It was a great view of a beautiful field and I was allowed to drink beer in my seat.

  • http://liberalmusings.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

    “The problem with Kavanagh’s proposal is that teams already have affordable pricing.”

    Not really. Many ordinary fans can’t go to games because they simply cost too much when compared to just watching at home. If they want to do the proposal, however, seven percent is small and almost meaningless. It would have to be larger, IMO, with perhaps the state’s subsidizing of the losses.

    • A.D.

      There’s plenty of affordable seats in the upper deck and bleachers.

      It’s not that fans cannot go to games when comparing to the at home cost. Its that they don’t go to games given that they may already have a pretty nice set-up at home, and thus rather save their money for other things.

  • UWS

    This is not true. While field-level seats are prohibitively expensive for most people, upper deck and bleacher seats mostly go for $15-25.

    • UWS

      This was meant as a reply to Pablo’s comment. Reply button FAIL.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        And they’re even cheaper at road games, with the exception of NYM and BOS.

        • http://liberalmusings.wordpress.com Pablo Zevallos

          Not really when you factor in the cost of transportation/lodging/the day(s) off (potentially) needed.

  • A.D.

    WTF is affordable tickets anyways? Tickets are already affordable, its just a matter of sitting farther away.

    Affordable tickets would almost inevitably be scalped

  • dane bramage

    Whats everybody griping about? I’ve got great seats,and only a few scant feet from Yonkers Raceway.

  • Jim

    Just for fun, let’s look at the Fan Cost Index for the 8 playoff teams of 2008. (The 2009 numbers have yet to be released)

    Red Sox $320.71
    Cubs $251.96
    Dodgers $229.14
    White Sox $214.61
    Angels $140.42
    Rays $136.91
    Phillies $199.56
    Brewers $141.52

    Average Playoff Team FCI = $204.35

    Yankees = $275.10

  • TonyNYYfam

    You should contact the Yahnkees Front Office and ask for a briefing about how this whole ticket thing is working…. for the website, to let your readers know the deal. Good P.R.?

    On the only note, I bet if everyones name was printed on the ticket and would only let that person in, guys like me could buy good seats for the 5/10 game a year without paying an arm and two legs. Last year was way out of control, don’t want to think about this year.

  • yankeefan91 Arod fan Rooting For Team D.R

    i get to go to alot of free games during the season and there great seats on the yankee dug out and behind homeplatee in 07 the tickets i had for free were in the visiting dugout so im preety lucky to go to games for free because of my sisters boss he owns a part of the yankees sumhing like that and he gives da company free tcikets whnever u wanna go so ill be going to the new stadium often dis summer

    • Mike Pop


    • andrew

      You, sir, are special.

  • Ian

    Just remember, that with Stubhub, not only do big ticket items like Opening Day, Boston and the Mets get sold for way above face value, there are also tickets that end up getting sold for under face. Yesterday, I got 2 upper deck tix for Wed 4/22 vs Oakland for $8 each. Face value $20.

    Remember, a big reason that every game sold out the last few years was due to weekday upper deck tix being $5. This year, those tickets are in the hands of full season ticket holders, whether to scalp or out of fear of compromising their incumbent partial plan (like my Sunday plan thats now a weekday plan). A lot of these tickets are going to go unsold unless the season ticket holders lower the price.

    I predict a lot of new 2009 season ticket holders will not renew for 2010 because they will lose money from their investment.

  • Bo

    Brodsky defines the word Hack.

  • http://www.supertangas.com The man with 33 fingers

    Sure…so lets pretend not to be socialist, but ask for tax-payer money to help build the place.

    Every capitalist these days is a total hypocrite, they all have their hands out for socialist government give-a-ways, but god forbid they do the same…lol.

    Gotta love greed.