Something to watch for

Following up on deMause’s note about empty seats in Shea, Bob Raissman wonders how a less-than-capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium is going to look to the viewers at home:

Ticket talk triggered a memory from long ago – Sept. 22, 1966. The Yankees would finish in 10th place that season and on that day, 413 fans squeezed their way into Yankee Stadium, which at the time had a seating capacity of 65,000. The legendary Red Barber was at the WPIX-TV microphone. He instructed the director of the telecast to have PIX’s cameras pan the empty Stadium. “I don’t know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium,” Barber reported. “And this crowd is the story, not the game.”

Shortly after the ’66 season ended, Barber was fired by the astute suits from CBS who owned the team and were in the process of driving it into the ground.

All this is not to suggest games in the new Yankee Stadium will ever be that sparsely attended, but it certainly looks like some locations “downstairs” may not be totally occupied.

What would patches of emptiness mean in terms of how the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network covers the games? Would the Bombers’ inability to sell out their new palace be bad for the organization’s image and brand?

Personally, I hope that YES tries to go all Pravda with this should it come to pass. We’re in an age now where that kind of propaganda is impossible to pull off and YES messing with the images or the Yankees messing with the official attendance figures would provide a fabulous opportunity for the elevnty-jillion Yankees’ bloggers out there to make them look silly. If there are shenanigans, we’ll know about as soon as it happens.

All of this presupposes, of course, that the Yankees will have trouble filling the house. And while there are signs out there that such is the case, I can’t help but think that the tickets will ultimately be sold and used. Now, whether they’re sold at the prices for which the Yankees have been offering them is another thing altogether, but I don’t foresee tons of empty seats in the joint.

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  1. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    As one of the “elevnty-jillion Yankees’ bloggers out there”, I will make myself eligible for any Yankee efforts to help fill the lower seats.  I will agree to tow the company line and say nothing but ebbulent thing about the entire organization, top to bottom…in exchange for season tix.

    I will also do the same for a well-paid gig at a major media outlet.

    Soul: for sale, on sale.

  2. TLA said...

    I’m a Yankee fan, but I am quietly hoping that this whole ticket pricing/relocation thing blows up in their face.  I’m guessing that this turns into a big problem and someone feels the wrath of the Steinbrothers.

    I am a Yankee partial season ticket holder (Friday package).  Although I am not in the type of financial position that I can purchase the “downstairs” seats near the infield, I was ready, willing and able to pay more and, if possible, improve the location of my seats in the NYS. 

    The relocation process left a bad taste in my mouth.  In the old stadium, I was at the edge of the infield/outfield on the third base line in the loge level (for those unfamiliar with OYS, that was the small section between the field & upper deck).  My relocation package put me on the first base line (sort of) in the last row of the upper deck in the foul pole corner.  Not sure if I could have gotten farther away if I asked. 

    Figuring that location was not worth the ticket cost, let alone the cost of travel, parking, food, etc., I declined the package and opted to enter the general pool for better seats (against the advice of the Yankees ticket agent).  Basically, I was told, buy what we offered you or you might not get another shot.  Sure enough, they called me a week later and essentially offered my old seats.

    I wonder if they will guard those high priced seats, or if I will get the pleasure of sneaking down and catching a game close range at 1/20 of the cost.

  3. Pete Toms said...

    I predicted in December chez Maury that “price integrity” would be an issue this season in MLB.  Ticket discounting definitely moves inventory but it sure leaves a bad taste in the mouths of folks who paid full freight.  I think the Mets and Yanks will be vigilant – at least in the short term – about letting folks move down in to the high rent district.  (I digress, but the only time I went to Shea we bought seats “upstairs” and blew by one of those old ushers and sat “downstairs” the entire game)

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