Jason has a mega-post on Yankee Stadium, with a very savvy observation about all those empty seats I mentioned on Sunday: even the high rollers who didn’t get laid off may have a strong incentive to avoid the high-rent district:
A few weeks back, we went to a friend’s house for an afternoon. While watching the Masters with my friend (a Wall Streeter), we were discussing this and he made an interesting point. He said to me: “Jason, even if I had those great seats that cost $2500 a ticket, I can’t take a client there. It’s not worth the risk.” I asked him about what risk he was talking about and his answer surprised me as I hadn’t thought of that: “If someone recognizes me sitting behind the dugout and it comes out that I used my Firm’s resources for those seats, and we’ve taken TARP money from the government, I don’t want that sort of publicity or getting calls from The Post.” He’s not a famous guy at all, but there’s a fear that someone might see him and he’ll get “outted” for using Firm money to attend a game. He also told me that he’s not alone with this fear.
Much, much more there, including whispers — relayed from Pete Abraham — that the Yankees may ask for a do-over on pricing, refunding some money to those who sprung for the big money seats and resetting the prices in a direction that approaches reality. Hard to say how this will work given that it’s the utilization of those seats as opposed to the sale of them that’s the problem. By all accounts they’ve been sold. It’s just that the types of people who bought them aren’t the kinds of people who tend to you, know, enjoy a good ballgame.
I suppose the calculus is that if the price is reset, the owners would be more willing to put them on the secondary market at lower prices, thereby increasing the chances that schmoes like Jason and me would snap them up on Stubhub. I don’t know enough about that market to know if that would be effective, but my gut tells me that the ultra-rich who own those seats aren’t the most efficient users of the secondary market. They have several dozen pairs of shoes and a house in the Hamptons that aren’t utilized optimally, so why wouldn’t they just leave their Yankees’ tickets lying around too?
I’m prepared to admit that I’m trafficking in class-based stereotypes, though, so maybe this will work. It anyone has any better ideas on how the Yankees can undo this mess, however, by all means let’s talk about it in the comments.