Yankees Ticket Price-Slashing Fallout: PR Is Only an Issue If...
Permit me to put on my tin foil hat for a minute. Nothing says conspiracy theorist like tin foil on your head.
Are the New York Yankees brass just like you and me, only richer? Do they make decisions based on the airwave mouth pieces that fill the New York A.M. dial?
I know what you’re thinking, that’s impossible. Is it really? From what I can tell Hank, Hal, Brian, and the rest of the crew up in the Bronx are playing real life fantasy baseball and listening to way too much sports talk radio. (OK, I think what they are doing is way smarter than that, but the fans aren’t looking hard enough.)
My first assertion isn’t completely out of the question. Brian Cashman is clearly getting his scouting report from our friends a CBSSports.com Eric Mack or Scott White.
Here we have a guy that dropped serious cheddar to sign fantasy baseball's No. 4 first basemen, and No. 3 and 12 start pitchers. According to cbssports.com, these are additions to a lineup that already boasted fantasy baseball's No. 3 closer, No. 3 third basemen, No. 4 shortstop, and the No. 7-ranked second basemen in baseball.
Unfortunately for Yankee fans in Fantasyland, there are very few points for relief pitchers that don’t close, so Cashman didn’t bother to worry about his bullpen again this offseason.
Also like most fantasy teams the Yankees are a little thin on the bench. After pressing their top utility man outfielder, first basemen and relief pitcher extraordinaire Nick Swisher into action the Yankees are left with a bench that features Berroa, Gardner and Molina.
Now Yankees fan can say what they want about Cashman’s attempt to recreate a fantasy team in pin stripes. So far it looks like his attempts to do all of his scouting at the All-star have failed to pay dividends and the Yankees are a mere one game over .500 after 21 games.
Who could’ve predicted that?
Now that alone wasn’t enough to convince me that the chaos that was the Yankees front office wasn’t just a collection of stiffs with a penchant for my life but with more bread to spread around.
Then this happened: Yankees announce new ticketing plan. (This is where the Yankees true brilliance shows through, this move goes against every free market principle in their collective Steinbrenner bodies. Follow along.)
What did my eyes and ears deceive me?
Had the loud-mouthed callers and sports talk radio hosts in New York City been loud enough and obnoxious enough to cause the 2009 New York Yankees to bend to their will?
The New York Yankees—as in the team owned by George, the team now guided by Hal “Needless to say my dad is a tough act to follow” and Hank “You tell him to hit the damned ball...and hit it when it counts” Steinbrenner—are now bending to the will of the airwaves.
We are all more than familiar by now with the issue of empty seats in the Legends Suite, and Delta Sky 360 Suite.
In case you're not, the Yankees were struggling to sell about 2,000 seats per game at the new stadium. "So what?" you might say; well, those 2,000 seats happen to be the $2,500 seats located directly behind home plate and therefore directly in the middle of your TV screen as you watch the game.
Now the Yankees just this week have decided to slash those seats by between 35 and 50 percent, depending on the seat. So the $2,500 tickets are now going to retail for $1,250, and the $1,000 seats for $650.
I roast the Yankees for a lot of things; this is not one of them. Lowering tickets to adjust to the market demands makes sense to me. We do it every day in our lives. Baseball tickets being particularly time sensitive, I even give them credit for making this decision in a timely manner.
You know as well as I do, that no matter where you live a ticket price goes something like this. A seat with $50 at the box office, $85 on stub hub, $100 from a scalper 30 minutes before game time, $25 after the first innings and whatever they can get for it by the third. If that isn’t 100 percent accurate, it’s pretty close.
So Hank and Hal good for you. Sitting down and realizing this, realizing you misread the market. Don’t take it personal, it’s not like you’re the only one. Warren Buffet looks confused and he knows more than the rest of us, or so it would seem.
My issue comes with the rebates described in a press release by Hal from the other night.
I know this going to sound weird, but I spent every day for as long as I can remember hearing that sports is a business. Then for as much as we malign that phrase shouldn’t it teach us to be better consumers?
People will see this as a good PR move by the Yankees. You know why the Yankees need a good PR move? It is because after spending $425 million on free agents in the offseason they are 11-10 on the 29th of April.
If the Yankees were 17-4, there wouldn’t be this need to buy a little time, so to speak.
I can’t believe we live in world where the New York Yankees, an organization that says you should be allowed to spend your money however you see fit, is going to reimburse people for paying the market rate on tickets. Maybe they are still waiting on their Carl Pavano check?
I would contend that if I went out and bought a new Lexus the day it hit the lot, there may be 19 different cars there loaded with different options and in different colors. On that day, the cost on that car is $90,000. A year later I return to the same car lot, there are two left, my options are between a green and a blue Lexus. My options are chosen for me. That being said for giving up the options, I’ll probably pay $70,000.
Why do I use this example? I do it because the free market says that 85 percent of Yankee stadium sold at the market price. The remaining 15 percent of people had to take the seats that were left. On the other hand the Yankees had discovered that they must take action to sell the remaining tickets.
So one of two things is going on here, and I am not buying the Yankees have become like a hooker with a heart of gold.
I think the truth lies in the fact that playing fantasy baseball has finally caught up with the Yankees brass and this ticket rebate is like a prematurely balding man buying a Cherry Red Porsche, it takes the attention off the real problem. All it does is serve to distract from the fact that Teixeira is batting .206 and Burnett and Sabathia in nine starts have surrender 32 runs and combined for a 3-2 record.
You know who doesn’t need to manufacture good PR by rebating tickets? Teams that win!
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