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Is Yankee Ticket Demand Recession Proof?

It's too early to answer that question, but if recent reports are true, the Yankees sure better hope for. According to a report in the excellent Biz of Baseball blog, the team in pinstripes isn't just ushering in astronomically expensive seats behind homeplate -- which reportedly will sell for more than $2,625 per game -- they're also bringing in record price increases to nearly all of their seats, pushing the average price for a single seat to a single game this year to ... wait for it ... $237.

Think you might get a break over at StubHub? Sorry, think again. It is about the money, stupid defuses that hopeful idea right here.

It's an aggressive move in a marketplace that should be shrinking. After all, we've already discussed concerns about significant cut backs in overall major league attendance in the coming year right here. While selling the concept of going to "New" Yankee Stadium will bring in plenty of sidewalk gawking dollars, it's hard to establish a group of recurrent occasional fans to augment season ticket holders.

The Yankees will point to more than one section of affordable tickets in their defense, and to a degree, they're right to do so. Tickets in both the bleachers and grandstand sell for less than $50 (some as low as $14), so in theory, it's possible to get a psuedo-affordable entrance to a Yankees game.

Yet, with a hardcore fan base as rabid as the one that follows the Yankees -- both in New York and around the world -- all those tickets are snapped up almost immediately. So what's left for families looking to get to a game now? Well, there's plenty of $100-500 mid tier tickets available. So, if you've got $2,000, you're family of four is set!

Of course, New Yorkers could always defect and become Mets fans, too. Their new seats are a bit more affordable, and even with the new Citi Field, we're betting seats will be a lot easier to get your hands on, at least until September.

By Cameron Smith  |  March 23, 2009; 3:20 PM ET
Categories:  Yankees  
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The Yankees won't have a problem because 1) their brand is incredibly strong and, most importantly, 2) people know if they want good tickets in the future they need to have season tickets NOW.

You're going to have lots of people who see through the haze of today and realize they want to have good seats at the new stadium and that if they fall off the list now then they either won't get tickets again or they'll be horrible seats and have to work their way back to where they were.

Were this a team that didn't have a waiting list they couldn't get away with it. The Yankees can.

Posted by: adampschroeder | March 23, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Cameron, I think there actually is a lot of data that has already come in to show that they Yankees are certainly having a hard time selling all their seats at the inflated prices they established, and that their ticket demand is not "recession proof." To wit:

-- Season tickets in the lower levels "between the bases" are not sold out. The Yankees have hired a high-end New York residential real estate brokerage company to help them "market" the remaining tickets.

-- The Yankees held an "open house" two weekends ago to try to sell the unsold seats. They also broke up seats that were contemplated to be sold as full-season tickets into mini-plan seats.

-- The Yankees converted some of their full-season luxury suites into game-by-game "party suites" because the luxury suites did not sell out by the time expected.

The NY Times--Sandomir in particular--has covered this in some detail. Even people who can afford the $2,500 seats for the most part don't really want to be seen in them in the current economic climate.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | March 24, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

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