Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Yankee game was good; the atmosphere - not so much

There were a ton of Yankee homers - five, to be exact - in yesterday's victory. Too bad the crowd sounded so lame, even during Derek Jeter's game-winning homer. And that there were so many empty seats gone to waste.

Take a look at the photos from Sliding Into Home, The Girl Who Loved Andy Pettitte, and the New Stadium Insider to see what I'm talking about.

But spin, spin, spin is the word in Yankeeland. They're claiming that yesterday's attendance was 45,101, which is just laughable, given how many empty seats were on display yesterday, including entire unsold sections.

And what's more, the Yankee front office is claiming that they're happy with that 45K attendance.

Yankee president Randy Levine, fresh from telling Newsday's Neil Best that only the media, and not the fans, care about all the netting we now see on Yankee broadcasts, said to the New York Times:
“We’re actually very pleased, based on the history of reduced attendance for the second game of the year,” the Yankees’ president, Randy Levine, said. “We significantly exceeded even the last year of Yankee Stadium.”
That's just silly. You can't compare attending the second game of any other year, even last season, to being in the second game at a brand-new stadium. Attendance last year was bigger at the end of the season, not the beginning, as fans went to see their last game at the old ballpark. This year should have been the opposite, with fans rushing to see their first game at the new ballpark. So yesterday should have been a sellout. But heck, even Opening Day wasn't really a sellout.

The Yankees have a huge problem on their hands, with all those empty seats. No matter how many ads they run in the Wall Street Journal, they're not going to be able to sell those ridiculously-priced seats.

And I don't want to hear how the Yankee front office were victims of the economic meltdown. Even in the best of times, not many people are willing to spend $350, let alone $2650, to see a baseball game. And we're not in good times. Besides, this isn't football, where there are only eight home games; there are 81 home games in baseball.

The other issue is how much worse the affordable seats are now. The upper deck seats are reportedly 30 feet back from where they were in the old ballpark. Over a thousand of the bleacher seats are obstructed by that dopey Mohegan Sun sports bar - a place that charges $750 a year just to join, and that membership fee doesn't include food, drinks, or admission. What a deal, eh?

Good businessmen change with the times. Oprah Winfrey, to name one example, has toned down the ostentatiousness of her show to reflect what's going on in the world right now.

But more than six months after the economy tanked, the Yankee front office, most notably Randy Levine and Lonn Trost, still seem to think that we're still living in boom town, instead of the worst economy since the Great Depression. And what's more, they want to rub our noses in the luxury. Time for them to get a reality check.

What do you think? Leave us a comment!


Paul from Boston said...

Its not really surprising that those excessively priced seats didn't sell for an afternoon game in April. Just for the heck of it I went on and tried for a pair of "best available" for today's game and also the first Sox game (a Monday night). Great news - the $2600 seats are still available for Boston, but the best today are only the $900 seats. So it would seem some of them are moving.

If it continues they should consider opting for some PR instead of pure spin. Perhaps donate some of them to sick/needy kids or heck, even reward the other patrons by doing a random drawing of seats that did sell and do an in-game upgrade. Looks 'fan-friendly' for them, looks better on TV and then they'll get their cash eventually when times turn around.

Bob in Kiev said...

I watched the exciting last two innings of yesterday's game on here in Kiev (at midnight here). Great comeback, Jeter home run, etc. BUT, the empty seats!! It really looked like the 8th inning of an exhibition game from Tampa, when all the fans have left the lower box seats because the regulars have been taken out by the 5th inning and the outcome of the game doesn't matter.
I almost feel bad for the greedy Yankees, they are really stuck. They have to show the empty seats because they are right behind home plate, they can't work out other camera angles. But they can't possibly show all those empty seats on their broadcasts all year that go all over the world, that would diminish the "Yankee Brand." And if they try to auction off the empty seats or give them to poor kids or some other maneuver, the people who paid $2500 for the "exclusivity" of those seats and signed two-year contracts will raise a ruckus. They paid a lot of money to not have to sit near us stinky proletarians. So I don't know what they are going to do, but they have to do something. This is a major embarrassment.

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