You know those two gigantic, ridiculously expensive stadiums they just built in New York? One is the baseball equivalent of New Coke and the other is named after a company whose stock is currently trading at $3.20 per share? Well, now a report has surfaced that claims the Yankees and Mets are considering dropping ticket prices because of how empty the stadiums have been thus far in the season. Awesome.
Yankee Stadium cost $1.5 billion to complete. Citi Field’s final bill came in at around $900 million. And now because of the economy and inexplicable ticket prices, no one is going. I love it.
When I was in New York last week, there were rumors going around all over town that the Yankees and Mets were looking in to ways to quietly give away tickets (possibly to employees or charities) for the first few series because they were having trouble selling them. They wanted the parks to look packed on television to give the impression that it was a hard ticket, thereby justifying the insane ticket prices. On top of that, the Yankees and Mets have their own television networks, so there’s virtually no reason for fans to shell out tons of cash just to watch a game.
We all love the experience of going to the ballpark and I’m sure tons of loyal fans want to make a trip to the new parks to check out all the cool features and enjoy the atmosphere. But somehow I doubt there are as many repeat customers as the teams expected.
The Yankees are currently charging $500-$2,625 for “Legends Suite” tickets in 25 sections in the first nine rows around the infield. There are 1,895 seats in that area. So at a minimum, a family of four would have to drop $2,000 just to sit there.
The Mets aren’t as bad. At Citi Field the “Delta Club” includes the 20 rows between the dugouts. Tickets for the 1,567 seats there range anywhere from $175-$495 each.
According to Bud Selig, the Yankees are currently averaging 44,000 in attendance at their 52,325 capacity park, but they expected sellouts for a good portion of the season. He added that the Mets are averaging around 37,000 and Citi Field has a 41,800 capacity. The troubling issue is that both teams are having serious issues selling the high-end seats in the lower levels.
To be honest, it is the height of arrogance to expect families to pay anywhere close to those prices to attend baseball games in this financial climate. Hopefully both teams will realize they need to alter their prices to fit the times.
If not, I’ll just continue to enjoy seeing tons of empty seats behind the plate at their games.