On Opening Day 2008, the last at the House that Ruth Built, a capacity crowd packed into Yankee Stadium. 55,112 fans filed up to the Bronx to watch Chien-Ming Wang and Roy Halladay battled for two hours and 31 minutes, and the Stadium was rockin’.
Yesterday, the Stadium was also rockin’ but more so with Indians’ runs than with anything from the Yanks. While Thursday was certainly a historic day for the Yankees and the new stadium, the crowd was noticeably smaller this year than last. Officially, the Yanks’ paid Opening Day 2009 attendance was 48,271, about 13 percent less than last year.
The Times’ Joshua Robinson, in a story about the widely divergent ticket prices as the new park, wonders why attendance was so low.
Basically, the Yankees claim it was a combination of factors. First, the team doesn’t count sponsored tickets. All of their marketing partners who probably negotiated for free tickets to yesterday’s game don’t count in the paid total. Second, the team is not yet selling standing-room only tickets. The team — or at least The Times’ article — offered up no explanation for that last point.
To me, the attendance numbers is indicative of a larger problem. Simply put, fewer people can go to Yankee games this year. I tried to get Opening Day tickets and couldn’t, and I would have been more than happy to shell out a few books for an SRO ticket to roam the stadium, camera in hand during yesterday’s historic day.
So basically, as the Yankees start playing in a stadium with an attendance of 52,325, including standing room, the team is further depressing supply by not selling the standing room tickets. The Yankees shouldn’t have had a paid attendance on Opening Day of less than 50,000, but they did. I don’t like the whole thing, but what can you do?