Ticket sales for 2010 outpacing ’09

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As the Yankees begin their second season in a new ballpark with lower ticket prices and a World Series title to defend, fans are flocking to the Bronx for a chance to watch a game or 81. According to a report from the Associated Press, ticket sales for 2010 are outpacing 2009, and Yankee officials say they may soon need to cut off season-ticket sales to keep some seats open for individual game purchases.

Earlier this week, Hal Steinbrenner said that the Yankees have outsold last year by 2000 full season ticket packages. So far, the team has sold the equivalent of 37,000 season ticket plans while, in 2009, they had sold 35,000 before the stadium had hosted Opening Day. The team eventually sold 2000 more tickets last year, and Steinbrenner anticipates cutting off season ticket sales shortly.

The team averaged 45,918 fans per game last year in a stadium with a capacity that nears 50,000, and team officials believe that high prices were to blame for the empty seats. This year, as the AP notes, the team has slashed the price tag on the most expensive options:

New York renamed 538 seats along the foul lines Champions Suite, removing them from the Legends Suite and cutting off access from the duplex Legends Suite Club. The reclassified seats sell for $350-$550 for individual games, while the 1,357 remaining seats in the Legends Suite are $450-$1,600 for individual games, down from $500 to $2,625.

New York also cut 3,400 tickets behind home plate in the lower deck from $325 to $235-$250 per game as part of season plans. “The big change here was giving our fans yet another option as far as tickets,” Steinbrenner said.

I’m curious to see how these numbers translate into final attendance figures for the Yankees. In old Yankee Stadium’s last year, the team drew a record 4.29 million fans with an average of 53,069 per game. In the new park, the Yankees still claim a capacity of 52,325 including standing room, but the team averaged just 45,918 fans last year for a total attendance of 3.79 million. Tuesday’s crowd of 49,293 was the largest regular season crowd in the new park’s short history. Wednesday’s game drew just 42,372.

For the Yanks to draw 4 million fans again, they’ll have to average 49,382 fans per game in the new house, and until standing room tickets are available for every game, that mark seems unattainable. For now, though, we should be happy that the Yankees are both lowering ticket prices and selling so many seats. The gaudy economic experiment of the new stadium may not have been as smashing a success as the Yanks had originally hoped, but the team has found a gold mine of money no matter. People will, after all, come out to watch a winner.

Photo of the 2009 ticket above comes to us from the incomparable Amanda Rykoff.

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  • http://captnsblog.wordpress.com/ The Captain’s Blog

    Actually, the “gaudy economic experiment of the new stadium” HAS been “a smashing success”, just not as smashing as it would have been in a vibrant economy. Even amid a recession, the Yankees increased revenue over 18% to $441mn, according to Forbes. In any environment, much less a recession, that would qualify as a smashing success. It should also be noted that the Yankees registered their largest operating profit in the 10 years that Forbes has been doing its survey.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Fair point. I’d say we’re both right. They overshot and still managed to create an obscene amount of new revenue from the new stadium.

      • http://captnsblog.wordpress.com/ The Captain’s Blog

        Actually, I don’t think the Yankees “overshot”, which would imply they misread a healthy market’s demand for their product. Rather, the economy “underperformed” any reasonable expectations. The fact that the Yankees still did very well in a significant recession is proof positive that their business plan was very strong. Implying that they somehow failed, even if only slightly, is almost like suggesting a world class sprinter had underperformed because his 100 meter time was slowed when running into the headwind of a hurricane.

        • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          This is pretty subjective, but I wouldn’t say so conclusively that the Yankees had “reasonable expectations” for the economy or the pricing of the seats in YS3. Charging hundreds of dollars, and in some cases thousands of dollars, for baseball seats seems to indicate a belief in an economy that will continue very robust growth indefinitely. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that they were too aggressive in their pricing/expectations.

          • http://captnsblog.wordpress.com/ The Captain’s Blog

            I didn’t say that the Yankees had reasonable expectations for the economy…I don’t know what they were. What I said was the economy underperformed anyone’s reasonable expectation (I don’t think too many economists predicted the severity and length of this recession). Saying that the Yankees were too aggressive implies that they overpriced their tickets for a normal economy. Unless you think the Yankees should have anticipated the recession, or been more felxible once it hit, I don’t see how they can be falted for feeling its effects.

            • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              I think we just have different impressions of what a “normal economy” is. I think they were too aggressive because the occasional downturn should be anticipated and they priced their seats as if the market would continue on a pretty steep rise, and I get the impression you think that pretty steep rise is the “normal economy.” I don’t think they necessarily should have been smarter than everyone else and anticipated the recession, but I do think they should have anticipated that the economy wouldn’t always continue growing at the rate it had been, indefinitely. They shot for the moon with some of their ticket prices, which were so high that they were shocking to many people. That pricing plan didn’t anticipate an economy that might hit some bumps in the road.

    • CountryClub

      I was going to say something similar, but you beat me to it.

    • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “It should also be noted that the Yankees registered their largest operating profit in the 10 years that Forbes has been doing its survey.”

      Not arguing with you, just wondering… Wouldn’t winning the World Series for the first time since Forbes started doing its survey also have something to do with it? And aren’t the Yanks not paying some sort of either revenue sharing or luxury tax because they opened the new stadium? Again, not really arguing with you here, but I think there are probably some factors other than the success of YS3 that had a somewhat substantial effect on that bump in operating profit, no?

      • http://captnsblog.wordpress.com/ The Captain’s Blog

        It’s definitely relevant, but I would point out two things: Forbes study includes the 2000 season (2001 study), which was the second highest operating profit. While that does support your theory, the Yankees actually had an operating loss in 2003 (the 2004 study), and that year they played even more playoff games at home (nine).

        As for the other items, the Yankees have received no relief from the luxury tax and have only been able to exempt interest on debt from its applicable revenue (a rough estimate would put the revenue sharing estimates in the $5-6mn range).

        Because the YES rights did not increase, that really only leaves gate receipts and concessions as the main drivers of revenue, and both of those are derivatives of the new stadium.

        • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Gotcha, gracias.

    • A.D.

      Exactly, they’re making money of the stadium. Was the crazy prices of the Legends seats/ StubHub pricing on premium tickets a success. Not so much, in that they were frequently empty.

      • http://captnsblog.wordpress.com/ The Captain’s Blog

        The seats being empty were an embarrassment, but an efficient price is one that maximizes revenue, not sells the most seats. In other words 50% vacancy at $3,000 is just as good as sold out at $1,500.

        • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          From a purely financial standpoint, yes. But if you include other considerations, like trying to avoid public embarrassment, the happiest medium is probably a price that leads to a mostly-full, if not totally full, stadium, at the highest prices possible to make that happen. Just depends what your goals/interests/motivations are.

        • Thomas

          However, if they sell out, the Yankees get increased revenue from in stadium purchases (merchandise and concessions). Thus, if possible a team wants to maximize both ticket revenue and patrons attending.

          Of course, the Yankees could have easily have incorporated this in their model and decided 50% full at $1000 tickets plus $100 in-stadium purchases per is greater than sold out at $150 plus $100 in purchases.

          • andrew

            Except that all of the food is included in the Legends seat. Sure, people may be buying hats and things of that nature, but for the most part, people in the Legends seats aren’t buying anything in the stadium after their ticket purchase.

            • Thomas

              Ah, thanks. I didn’t know/remember that. As you can tell I don’t sit in the Legends seats.

        • A.D.

          Yes, that’s true, unfortunately don’t have the numbers to see if it’s panned out.

  • ADam

    Those are close to my seats… sec 236

  • A.D.

    I believe they said something on the radio that the Yankees have already sold 2.5+ Million tickets, but I don’t have a firm source.

  • Cecala

    I actually got tickets for tomorrow. So pumped!

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Early April’s a good time to get tickets. People don’t like to commit to these games because the weather is so uncertain. My sister and I were thinking about going on Saturday, but the weather calls for low 50s and rain.

  • http://captnsblog.wordpress.com/ The Captain’s Blog

    If people are looking for tickets, they’d be wise to keep checking Stubhub. In fact, the closer to game time, the better. In order to sell as many tickets as possible, Stubhub has an automated process that will systematically reduce prices based on availability and time until the event. So, if you notice a large number of similar tickets for a game, they will automatically continue to drop as game time approaches (unless very few of the sellers have opted into the automatic reductions).

  • How Ya Doin

    One must wonder how much of these sales are actually individuals intending on going to the games or just ticket “re-salers.” I have a friend who started a ticket re-sale company who has season tickets for teams across the country, despite living in NYC. Yankees games are have a perennial, so I wouldn’t doubt that a fair amount of these season ticket sales are not actually to individuals.

    • http://deleted How Ya Doin

      * have a perennial market. Don’t eat lunch and post.

    • rafael

      So long as the seats are paid for, I don’t think it really matters to the Yankees who is buying the tickets

  • http://www.bomberbanter.com BomberBanter.com

    “The reclassified seats sell for $350-$550 for individual games, while the 1,357 remaining seats in the Legends Suite are $450-$1,600 for individual games, down from $500 to $2,625.”

    Still pretty expensive. Since the 2007 season, I’ve gone to one game a year – I invested in a 40+ inch LCD instead. I’ve had season ticket packages in the bleachers and then the tier reserved, but I’ve decided that watching games in HD is the way to go. that being said, the tickets I had in 09 were $125 each; this year, I got better seats at $100 each.