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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shocker: Yankees lower some ticket prices

The Yankees finally acknowledged the inevitable today. No matter how many ads they run, or real estate agents they pressed into service, they weren't going to sell those empty luxury seats at the prices the team wanted. So they've cut those ticket prices - in some cases up to 50% - of those seats originally priced from $325 to $2650. The team also offered free seats to those customers who have already bought luxury seats.

While the prices are still completely ridiculous - not to mention still higher than any other team in baseball - this is still a rather humiliating acknowledgment for the Yanks that they messed up on the ticket prices. But their math doesn't add up,which I'll explain in a sec.

Click for the press release
announcing the new ticket prices. A few things I noticed:

The statement came from Hal Steinbrenner, not Yankee president Randy Levine nor COO Lonn Trost. I don't think that's an accident. Levine has been a complete disaster on this topic, making things worse when he should have been making things better. I noticed Levine has been quiet since he took on soccer and gave their sport all sorts of free publicity. And Trost was the guy who said our prices are our prices and wouldn't move an inch on conceding they were too high.

The press release continues to spin the fantasy that these are "a small" number of seats:
“A few weeks ago I indicated that in light of the economy we would review the pricing of a small number of our premium locations at Yankee Stadium; specifically, our Suite Seats. I mentioned a small number of locations because in excess of 3.4 million seats, including 37,000 full season equivalents as well as approximately 85% of all our premium locations have already been sold. Yet, there are a few hundred Suite Seats in our premium locations that have not been sold on a full season basis.
The Yanks had claimed that the premium seats were, what, 4500 of the seats in the ballpark? If 85% were really sold, then that would mean that the Yanks had only 675 seats to fill. Tell me - do all those empty seats look like 675 to you?

Other prices still need to be marked down. Ross of the New Stadium Insider site has done a fantastic job of breaking all this stuff down. He discovered that, according to FanSnap.com, a site which tracks all the secondary ticket prices, there are a ton of seats available at StubHub and other sites. Here's what Ross wrote:
Doing math based on the rounded numbers of tickets available according to the site (which does not include all ticket brokers, or Craigs List), an average of 16,900 Yankee tickets are available on the secondary market for each game. In other words, 35% of the per-game inventory sold by the Yankees is now back on the market, presumably with the intent of making a profit. Even worse, ticket inventory for "premium" games such as the Red Sox and the Mets come in at over 20,000 tickets available.
These numbers are even worse, if you take the Yanks' word that they've already sold the equivalent of 37,000 full-season tickets. And, as Ross notes, there is no good way to sell these tix online at the last minute, so the seats end up going empty.

What happened was that too many fans bought season tickets with the notion of selling the ones they couldn't use online. But there are so many tickets available now on the secondary markets, these fans are taking a bath on the tickets.

There are also a lot of other overpriced seats that the Yanks should lower the prices on, like the Bleacher Cafe ($125 a game) and Mohegan Sun Sports Bar ($95 a game.) Both seats are basically a slightly upgraded version of the bleachers, with a huge pricetag.

Today's Yanks' ticket decrease is a start, but they still have a very long way to go to fix things for the average fan.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!

1 comment:

Roger 9 said...

Bigger Shocker: Yankees win a game and by a BLOWOUT!Finally, a night where we don't have to walk away in disgust.It all came together...young pitching, hitting...everything! Will it carry over and become infectious? Only time will tell.
As far as the outrageous ticket prices are concerned, the "brainless" trust of the Yankees just might be learning the basic lesson for any business...satisfy the every day patron and don't price yourself out of the market.Doing so will only come back to bite you in the backside.It is soooo good that the average fan might finally get to be heard!