Thursday, April 23, 2009

Charging $2,500 a seat at a baseball game is not a good idea

You are not going to believe this, but, apparently, charging $2,500 a seat at a baseball game is not a good idea. The Yankees tried it, and they have ended up with a thoroughly embarrassing situation on their hands. The new Yankee Stadium opened up for business recently, as the Tribe walked in, scored a billion runs, said thank you and left. Advance reports on the new digs are good, in terms of design anyway. Comfortable, good views and you can buy a vat of popcorn for $12 that has close to 3,000 calories in it. How can that not be good?

The problem, however, is the fancy $2500 seats the Yankees set aside for ‘premium’ customers (people better than you and me I guess) who were going to pay through the nose to be up close and personal to the game. The snag? The seats are empty. The rest of the stadium is packed, while the ring of premium seats is almost 95% empty. How embarrassing. Where do you even start with this?

From the NY Times;

''But a closer look at the makeup of the stands was intriguing. All of the lower-priced sections seemed to be packed, but there were dozens of empty seats in the premium levels. Seemingly all of the seats in sections 11 and 29 — eight rows apiece, at the left- and right-field ends of the Legends Suite area — were unoccupied.''




Consider the common Yankee fan. Illiterate, poor, probably out of work…

I kid. I kid. Seriously though, imagine the common Yankee fan, saved up a few dollars and brought his kid to the game. Tickets, parking, $12 popcorn, souvenir program and your average fan is in the hole for a couple of hundred bucks. Maybe he stands up and stretches in the middle of the second, thinking about a bill he hasn’t paid yet this month, or even the security of his job, and he can’t help but notice the empty $2,500 seats in all their glory.



What message are the Yankees sending to their loyal fans? If you want to be up close to the game you have to fork out enough to cover a couple of mortgages for a month? We stick our most loyal fans up in the nose bleeds!

So what's the deal if you want to actually purchase tickets to the 'premium' seating areas? Well, there's no prices on the seats in the regular seating chart.

What kind of a message does this send? Are the Yankees hiding their arrogantly priced seats? Or is this all part of 'the experience' of premium seating?

is this another form of 'If you have to ask, you can't afford?'

The next step is to visit this arrogant, even disgusting little link/site, where the luxury element of the premium seating areas is rammed down the visitors throats. The tag on the front page reads 'For those with discerning taste', when it should read, 'For those who can afford $3000 to go to a baseball game’. Clicking on the ‘Legends’ seating area, you are given a break down of the various luxuries on offer.

  • 1,800 CUSHIONED SUITE-STYLE SEATS WITH TEAK ARMS
  • ACCESS TO THE EXCLUSIVE BI-LEVEL LEGENDS SUITE CLUB AND TWO LEGENDS SUITE DUGOUT LOUNGES, ONE EACH ALONG THE FIRST AND THIRD BASELINES
  • PRIVATE RESTROOMS IN THE LEGENDS SUITE CLUB AND THE LEGENDS SUITE DUGOUT LOUNGES
  • ALL-INCLUSIVE FOOD AND BEVERAGES,* INCLUDING:
  • * IN-SEAT WAIT SERVICE
  • * FINE DINING AT THE LEGENDS SUITE CLUB, FEATURING À LA CARTE AND PERFORMANCE-COOKING STATIONS
  • * "GRAB N' GO" FOOD AND BEVERAGE OFFERINGS AT THE LEGENDS SUITE DUGOUT LOUNGES
  • PERSONAL CONCIERGE SERVICE AVAILABLE


Not bad for $2500 I guess.



If you are suitably convinced, and ready to buy some tickets, you just have to click one more link. This, interestingly, brings you to a form where you can express your interest in buying Yankee premium tickets. Do the Yankees do a quick credit check to ensure you are good for the cash?


Here's the thing. In the first few games at Yankee Stadium, those premium type seats are largely empty.



Can fans not figure out how to buy tickets? Are they scared off by the relatively elongated process to procure ‘the best seats in the house’? Or is it something more sinister?

Consider the ‘fan’ sitting in the $2,500 seats. Very few individuals can afford those types of tickets, except corporate types, perhaps bringing guest/clients out to a ball game, ‘wowing’ them with premium seating and $12 popcorn. Those types are now in a serious corner. What if they worked for, by way of example, a company that has been given government money to survive? Maybe that explains why the seats are largely, and embarrassingly empty.

So what's going to happen? How is this situation going to play out?

The Yankees brass is entirely oblivious to any issue at all.

From the NY Times;

‘’ Levine said many of the premium seats were sold, but ticket-holders did not attend the game or might have spent much of their time in a private club area.’’



Of course, the fans all exited the ‘Legends’ area at the same time to go hang out in the private ‘fuck you, regular fans!’ club. Naturally. How stupid of us not to figure that one out on our own. This raises another question, is this how the Yankee brass want their stadium? Empty during the game as the ‘Pink cap’ brigade schmooze and rub shoulders in the private club areas?


Whatever way this does go, is there a greater image to describe the current financial plight in the United States than those bloated-price, empty elitist seats in the Premium sections of Yankee Stadium?



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Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

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