Thursday, February 18, 2016

Yankees' COO Lonn Trost to the 99%: Drop dead

Yankees Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost has an elitist excuse for why secondary ticket sales are bad, and why the team is trying to stop any other parties from doing them but themselves. Neil Best of Newsday recounted his explanation, as told to WFAN's Boomer and Carton (emphasis added):
"The problem below market at a certain point is that if you buy a ticket in a very premium location and pay a substantial amount of money. It’s not that we don’t want that fan to sell it, but that fan is sitting there having paid a substantial amount of money for a ticket and [another] fan picks it up for a buck-and-a-half and sits there, and it’s frustrating to the purchaser of the full amount."
Trost then added a comment that raised eyebrows on social media because of its seemingly elitist undertones. "And quite frankly," he said, "the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base."
So basically, only the 1% deserve to get to sit in the good seats in Yankee Stadium. And the 99% better know their place, because they don't belong in the premium location. And their very presence might upset those who paid full price for such seats.

Left unsaid was how these people would know that these interlopers paid less. Unless, you know, they weren't the "right" race or social class to be there. Not to mention that the idea that somebody could pay $1.50 for premium seats is ludicrous.

Whose idea in Yankeeland, exactly, was it to get Trost to defend this policy? He is about the worst spokesman for the team imaginable. He's the guy who blamed Hurricane Sandy for slow ticket sales. Who defended charging $2600 for the top seats at the new Yankee Stadium, saying "Some people can afford to fly first class and others can't." Who justified keeping kids from getting in front of the moat to see batting practice. Who called the obstructed seats in the current stadium's outfield merely "architecturally shadowed."  Who decided it was a good idea in 2013 to pick a fight with StubHub, claiming that they were "greedy," accused them, with no evidence, of counterfeit tickets and banned them from doing e-ticket sales. Then who had to back off on that plan when Yankee ticket sales plummeted.

It looks like he apparently was incensed by reports in the newspapers, and by bloggers about how the Yankees' new ticket policy would keep fans from buying last-minute tickets on StubHub. "Unfortunately, the papers, the bloggers have it wrong," he claimed, and said he presented the New York Post and the New York Daily News with the "facts." (An aside: Speaking of facts, I know for a fact, through somebody in the know, that I am one of the very bloggers he was unhappy about. I can't tell you how much that warms my heart!)

Trost also said fans could still use StubHub's "last minute pickup center that's right up from Yankee Stadium" to pick up hard copy tickets. Funny how Trost described that ticket center's location that way. Because when he first picked a fight with them, the team sued to make StubHub close their truly convenient location at 68 East 161st Street, saying it was too close to the ballpark. And StubHub had to move to a less convenient location for fans at the Bronx Terminal Market, Level 1, at 651 River Ave and 151st Street. which is almost 1/2 mile away from the stadium. All to prevent the team's own fans from using them.

He also blatantly played fast and loose with the truth about StubHub when it came to them being able to do mobile tickets."We know that StubHub can transfer tickets on mobile. If they choose not to, that's not our business." 

That is untrue. I reached out to Cameron Papp, StubHub's Communications Manager, to get clarification. Papp told me that they would not be able to do so without the Yankees' agreeing to this:
"As of now, due to this new policy, StubHub will only be able to offer the listings of hard tickets for Yankees games. If there’s enough time before the game, the seller will send their hard tickets through UPS directly to the buyer. If there’s not enough time before the game, the seller can send or drop off their tickets at our ticket office outside of the stadium ahead of time for the buyer to pick them up on game day."
Papp also gave me this official statement from StubHub:
"StubHub believes that the best customer experience is one on a free and open marketplace where fans can buy and sell tickets whenever and wherever they want. Yankees fans will still be able to purchase tickets on StubHub up until game time" if they go to the StubHub ticket office."
But the electronic method is out. Glenn Lehrmann of StubHub explained this to Neil Best:
"The only way we can transfer tickets is if the Yankees and Ticketmaster provide us with an API [application programming interface] feed that would allow us to do that,” he said. “It’s protected, and they have not granted us access, nor have they granted anyone access. If they wanted to grant us access, this is a different conversation."
* In addition, Trost claimed that people were printing out "multiple copies" of print-at-home tickets on "copy machines" and that "multiple people" were getting in. "And we don't even know how many," he said. Which is BS. Print-at-home tickets have a scannable barcode. And you can print one hundred copies of that ticket, but only the first person who had the ticket would get in. If the Stadium was somehow letting people in without correctly scanning their ticket, that's their incompetence, isn't it, not StubHub's or anybody else's.

* He also talked about Eric Schneiderman, New York's Attorney General, partially blaming him for the move to mobile. But he never mentioned that Schneiderman was looking into the team's policy of having a price floor in the Yankees Ticket Exchange; it may be ruled as anti-competitive. Gee, I wonder why.

Anyhow, it's really gut-wrenching to see such a twit represent the team I love. And to show such blatant contempt for fans like me. At a time when the Yankees face increased competition for ticket sales from the Mets, they ought to be doing their best to put fannies in the seats, not get those fannies to decide to sit at home on the couch and watch the games on TV instead. Good grief.

1 comment:

Bob Groder said...

well writeen article as always lisa. I will explain the 1.50 comment by trost but I didn't hear his voice. in the ticket resale business a buck and a half means 150.00 like slang. he probably meant 150.00 because the seats cost a lot more. I cant stand the man but in this case im almost certain me meant a buck and a half = 150.00. we use the term for over 25 years when quoting tickets to one another in the ticket resale business broker to broker. GREAT ARTICLE HOWEVER!

Search This Blog