Sunday, February 21, 2016

Shocker: Randy Levine reveals the Yankee Ticket Exchange is a huge failure

Would you buy Yankee tickets
from this man?
Both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have interviews this weekend with New York Yankees president Randy Levine. He's doing damage control for Lonn Trost's elitist comments when the COO tried to do damage control over the team's ticket kerfuffle. This is like Yasiel Puig advising Jonathan Papelbon how to be a good teammate. Like David Ortiz telling Jose Bautista to tone down his home run celebrations. You catch my drift. 

When are the Yankees going to learn the first rule of holes? When you're in a hole, QUIT DIGGING!

Instead, Levine is out there, shovel in hand, still trying to justify the Yankees' new policy as protecting the fans against fraud. But, just as Trost's damage control went awry, so did Levine's, as he inadvertently confirmed the real reasons for the new policy -- that the team doesn't believe in the free market when it comes to showing the true value of tickets. And that the Yankees Ticket Exchange is a big fat flop.

He told Billy Witz of the Times: “We strongly believe that we have the right to maintain control over our inventory as long as the market provides ample opportunity to have choice in other ways.”

Levine told Jared Diamond of the Journal: “This is our product and our inventory. We have the ultimate right to protect the value of our inventory as long as it’s done in the free-market society.” 

He also admitted to the Journal that only fewer than 10% of the tickets sold on the resale market go through the Yankees Ticket Exchange. And the Journal's story also revealed that, according to StubHub, 40% of their Yankee ticket sales occur in the 72 hours before the event. Which this new ticket policy would not-so-coincidentally negatively affect.

Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

Levine is confirming what Yankee fans like myself have been saying all week. This is all about increasing the resale value of Yankees tickets, and nothing about protecting fans from alleged "fraud."

Like all too many people in Yankeeland, Levine is living in the past. He wants a monopoly on ticket sales, at the very same time he's claiming he's all about the free market. Child, please.

Fans understand economics better than Levine does. The tickets are overpriced, and the free market, as evidenced by the secondary market, is showing that. The proof is in the pudding. The one secondary ticket venue with a price floor is the Yankees Ticket Exchange. And even though they are the easiest for season ticket holders to use, with integration with the team's ticket system, and even though they are integrated into, the exchange, by Levine's own admission, has only captured under 10% of the secondary market. That is an amazingly bad number.

This is why Levine and Trost are pushing this ban on print-at-home tickets and trying to stop fans from using StubHub for these last-second ticket sales. Because three years ago, they sold team owner Hal Steinbrenner on the idea that StubHub needed to be smashed. And they had the Yankees spend the money on this rival ticket exchange, figuring fans were so stupid, they would go to it because it was the official one. 

Yet it is a colossal failure. So now, the Yankees are trying to smash StubHub in another way -- by preventing their own fans from getting good deals on tickets.  They love the free market when it comes to corporations spending big bucks for boxes, but not so much when it shows that their ticket prices are too high.

That's not all that Levine said about the ticket brouhaha. From the Times:
After Lonn Trost, the Yankees’ chief operating officer, was lambasted as elitist for suggesting in a Thursday radio interview that some fans do not belong in premium seats, the team president, Randy Levine, in an interview Saturday, said StubHub had stoked the controversy, accusing it of putting out a narrative “that’s completely fraudulent and completely false.” 
1. What did StubHub have to do with Trost insulting the Yankee fan base? (Incidentally, it's been 72 hours and counting, and the Yankees still haven't apologized for what Trost said. Shows how much the front office cares about the fans.)

2. What part of the narrative, exactly, of what the Yankees are doing by banning print-at-home tickets is “completely fraudulent and completely false”?  That the Yankees has been on a vendetta against StubHub for the last three years? That the Yankees sued to force StubHub to move their Last-Minute Ticket Center from 68 East 161st Street, across the street from the Stadium, to the Bronx Terminal Market at 651 River Avenue and 151st Street? That despite the narrative that Lonn Trost pushed, that StubHub is not the entity holding up them being able to access mobile tickets -- the Yankees are? (And Levine even admits that the Yankees are holding this up, but still blames StubHub for it.)

Individual Yankee ticket sales for 2016 start tomorrow. But the team's brass has spent the last week doing the worst PR you could imagine for selling their own product. Good grief.


The Sympathetic Anarchist said...

It's time to get mad and not take it anymore. Fans must show some backbone and just plain boycott going to Yankee games.
Lets be honest, the game experience isn't worth the price of admission anymore. A family's resources can be better spent.
Let's see what the Yankee brass does when 30,0000 to 40,000 fans don't buy tickets for a couple of weeks. Then the empty seats will be as obvious as the empty ones behind the plate.

Want to show your outrage ? Don't go and save your money.

Anonymous said...

Frankly tired of this crap. Team living in the glory days with so little respect for the fan. I went to 10 games last year and never once paid face value. Never once used the exchange for the obvious reason. Might as well buy on ticketmaster. The beauty of life up to now has been the ability to wait and choose. I often grab my kid and just go. Like the old days when you could pay 1.50 for upper deck seats, pay 10 bucks for soda, dog and ice cream and still have money to get home on the irt. These days are gone and I'm not saying to be naive. I get it all. I just find it disgusting when trost and Levine say they're protecting us. It's offensive and time to fire up the tv ...that is until they have their next dispute over air rights to directv. There's always the 7 games they show on Pix. Right ?

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