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Yankees Finally Cut Ticket Prices

Under fire for their free spending offseason and exorbinant ticket prices at the new Yankee Stadium, the Yankees finally caved to public pressure yesterday and announced some ticket price reductions. That's the good news for those hoping to take in a game at the new hardball palace in the Bronx this year. Here's the bad news: the changes only made a total of 116 seats more affordable.

According to the Associated Press and the New York Post, the team cut the price of first-row Legends Suite seats in four sections on the outer half of the dugouts and photo cages from $2,500 to $1,250, a move that drops the price of some 48 seats. The final three sections also had seats down each foul line cut from $1,000 to $650, which dropped the price of some 68 seats.

Now, those moves reflect a pretty dramatic price decrease, but they're still a token measure for a club that has done precious little to accommodate fans' struggles during the economic recession. Clearly, those who can spend $1,250 per seat aren't the ones who need the biggest help. The team also announced token ticket measures for season ticket holders who have $325 per game seats, but many of those measures still require the purchase of another ticket to get one for free in each game.

Even more striking is that the Yankees insist that the price decrease will only be effective for this season. It's possible that the team will indoctrinate permanent discounts in the future, but after watching how the current ticket pricing drama has played out, would anyone actually bet on it?

The moves also come as public pressure with the team is finally nearing the breaking point, particularly after Yankees president Randy Levine lashed out at the MLS following comments from MLS Commissioner Don Garber that seemed to be pretty innocuous.

Add everything together -- the empty front row seats, the bad PR for lashing out against a fellow professional league and the state of the economy in general -- and its clear that the Yankees had to do something. The question is whether they did enough, and there's little reason to believe they did. Just ask Westchester (N.Y.) Assemblyman Richard Brodsky.

"It's the public that built Yankee Stadium, and even at these prices, the public has been excluded from the very stadium they built," Brodsky said. "It's a continuing disaster."

That's a pretty harsh critique, and it's the kind of claim that makes one wonder if the state government could try to recoup some of the state funding it offered the Yankees in building the stadium. To do so would be nearly impossible, but it would equally impossible for Brodsky and his cohorts to be more angry, either.

What do people think? Will the Yankees get more fans in seats with the new ticket prices? Or is this another example of how out of touch Yankees management is with the rest of America?

By Cameron Smith  |  April 29, 2009; 2:19 PM ET
Categories:  Yankees  
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The argument that publicly funded stadiums should be reasonably accessable to members of the public is a strong one. But the time for that argument was when the sports team asked for public money. If public officials relied on the Steinbreener family's sense of equity and penchant for fair dealing, they don't have much to say.

Posted by: advocate2 | April 29, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Remind us, please, of the amount of public funding for this stadium, and how it compares to other deals (including Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore, etc.). My impression is that Yankee Stadium got land deals and tax breaks from the public, but that the stadium itself was privately financed. Am I wrong? If true, does this diminish the righteous indignation of the taxpaying public?

Posted by: chrisduckworth | April 29, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The public paying for any part of a private stadium is one of the more ridiculous fallacies in our nation. There have been no legitimate studies that have shown a new stadium to increase commerce in a city. In reality it's simply a drain to the public's fund and makes it harder to fit in needed things like school funding and health care.

With sports teams raking in the money (and I don't buy the crap that teams are losing money left and right) you would think they could afford to save some of the profits they make every year and set them aside for when they want a new stadium. It's exactly what people in real life have to do. I don't just buy a car and then spend every penny I have assuming I'll never have to put another penny into my current car or any car in the future.

But I have very little hope that the public will ever stand firm and not pay for a new stadium for teams. Someone's going to have to stand firm and potentially lose their professional team because of it. The biggest hope I have is that the team will try to move but not find any other city willing to finance a stadium either.

Posted by: adampschroeder | April 29, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

As per request, here's the best public funding on Yankee Stadium piece, at least per the New York Post:

When you cut through all the numbers, the Yankees are up to about $900 million in public funding via tax-free bonds sold by New York City and the state. They haven't ruled out the possibility of asking for more, either.

Posted by: Cameron Smith | April 29, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

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