BOB:  Yankees cry ticket foul

Yankees blame secondary market for attendance decline

Last year, the New York Yankees’ attendance declined about three percent from the year before. This year, attendance is down more than another three percent and team president Randy Levine is blaming secondary ticket market king The Yankees are saying even more people are going to the secondary ticket market to get their tickets instead of buying them directly from teams. The Yankees are saying that is pricing the tickets too low.

The team’s contract with expires at the end of the year and Levine said the Yankees will look at alternatives.

While teams want to sell season tickets, few people can go to every game, so the secondary ticket market has become an important determinant in people’s decision to renew their season obligations. If you limit or take away that option, you could be robbing Peter to pay Paul because you could see season ticket sales take a drop. Still, with another year of decline, the Yankees must feel that something has to change. Who they have process their secondary ticket sales will be one of the things they look at.

San Jose Giants caught in stadium crossfire

A lot has been made about the Oakland Athletics’ pursuit of a new stadium in San Jose and the fact that the San Francisco Giants are blocking the move because San Jose is in their territory. A tertiary discussion can also revolve around the Giants’ Single-A affiliate, the San Jose Giants. With the big league club owning a majority of the team, if the Athletics were to move to San Jose, the minor league club would have to be uprooted.

Within this Wall Street Journal article, you have a range of emotions. You have people on one side who said San Jose getting a big league club would be a good thing but then you also have those loyal San Jose Giants fans who say that they won’t go to an Athletics game if they move there. You’d also have the logistics of the San Jose Giants finding a new home if they were displaced. For now, it looks like things are at a stalemate.

Peoria Sports Complex sees attendance and revenue gains

Both revenue and attendance were up at the Peoria Sports Complex this spring as both the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners had a successful (from a monetary point of view) Cactus League season in 2012. Attendance was up eight percent and revenue was up $175,000 to $5.2 million from a year before. Ticket revenue was down, but this was made up for by other revenue sources like parking and concessions.

Overall, Cactus League attendance was up seven percent in 2012. Earlier this year, the Mariners and Padres agreed to a 20-year extension in their lease, which was set to expire in 2014. In exchange, the city is going to spend $48 million to upgrade the complex that opened in 1994.

Minor league attendance sees further gains

Through the end of May, minor league baseball attendance had drawn 13,939,583 fans which is a 6.3 percent increase from 2011. In all, over 800,000 more tickets were sold in 2012 than in 2011 and you wonder if this is the year that minor league baseball knocks on the door of its record-setting attendance in 2008. Solid weather has been a big factor: There have been 62 fewer games lost this year because of weather than in 2011.

The first short season leagues begin this week, so we’ll see how those leagues do to help prop up the attendance numbers. Lehigh Valley is once again atop the attendance heap with 8,573 tickets sold per game.

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  1. Will H. said...

    I just looked at their ticket prices. They are absolutely absurd, and not just the ones you see empty every time a batter is at the plate (don’t teams get it that since those never sell that they should drop the prices?)

  2. RobertE said...

    Hi Shane: Randy Levine and the Yankees were quick to point out StubHub prices as a reason for raising the face value of tickets in the mid 2000’s. When you are selling out the ballpark, StubHub and the “what the market will bear” are great vehicles for setting prices. Let’s see if they are as quick to lower prices to reflect free market value.
    The idea of the impulse buy of walking up to the box office and buying day of game tickets is virtually dead. By definition the best seats available are re-buying those that are already sold on the secondary market.
    I checked StubHub for Yankees tickets in mid July, there are between 6-9,000 available seats for those dates. Even for the Yankees that would take up most of the walk up traffic back in the day. That’s before they can move one more unsold ticket at full price. This is not an unusual amount of seats on StubHub for Yankees games.
    Grow up Yankees: If you want to play in the free market you have to adjust to the changes, not just when if fits your desires.

  3. Not So Fast said...

    I’ve had to pass up free tickets to Yankee Stadium on occasion because I can’t afford them. Once you take in transportation, maybe 2 beers, and something to eat, it still runs you $60-80 per person. There’s no way a middle income family of four can reasonably afford to go to Yankee games. Lower your prices and attendance will go up. Who the hell told you to sign A-Rod for $300 million?

  4. MikeS said...

    Wait a minute.  Fewer people are attending Yankees games because Stubhub is selling cheaper tickets?  How does that make sense?  If they sold the tickets at higher prices more people would go?  The article lists the economy and poorer than expected performance on the field are also probably contributing.  Maybe the novelty of a new stadium wearing off has something to do with it too.  How can the availability of cheap tickets hurt attendance?

    I bet the Yankees are just creating PR so they can launch their own proprietary secondary market and legally scalp their own tickets like the Cubs do with Wrigley Field Premium Tickets.

  5. Shane Tourtellotte said...

    MikeS:  I think it’s that secondary ticket markets make it easier to buy tickets that have already been counted toward attendance figures.  The Yankees, and other teams, count attendance by tickets sold rather than seats occupied.  I’ll try to illustrate.

    Scenario #1:  Season ticket holder can’t go to tonight’s game, and has no venue to resell.  Walk-up customer has to get his at the box office.  Tickets sold by team:  2.

    Scenario #2:  Season ticket holder can’t go to tonight’s game, so puts ticket up for resale.  Walk-up customer buys that ticket.  Tickets sold by team:  1.

  6. Fled from NY said...

    It ROFL time.  Stubhub doesn’t print it’s own tickets, it has to get legit tickets from the Yankees somehow.  Those tickets were paid for already, the NYY got their drop of blood.  Levine is just trying to set the table for the next contract, he wants more of the pie from the reseller.  Stubhub will laugh at him, there isn’t an alternative.

    Overpriced tickets?  Of course, lower prices??  What and have to sell my second yacht?

  7. Hank G. said...

    I’ve had to pass up free tickets to Yankee Stadium on occasion because I can’t afford them. Once you take in transportation, maybe 2 beers, and something to eat, it still runs you $60-80 per person.

    I wasn’t aware that it was a requirement to eat and drink overpriced food and beer at a ballgame. It seems to me that if you really wanted to see a game, you’d jump at the chance to go for the price of a subway ticket.

  8. Fled from NY said...

    Let me get this straight Tyler, you say that the Yankees who are crying that the tickets Stubhub sells are TOO CHEAP and then claim the NYY can price compete against that???

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