Yankees Plan to Raise Ticket Prices Next Year

Empty seats be damned, prices are going up

There was another article about empty seats at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday morning, which seemed like a bit of overkill. How many different ways to spin the story are there? There's a recession going on, corporate money has dried up thanks to the bailout and speculators bought the tickets and are struggling to lay them off because of the first two reasons. 

It was interesting to learn that, because non-premium ticket prices rose 76 percent, any empty seats aren't hurting the Yankees much financially, but, overall, the Times piece broke little new ground. Until Ken Belson drops a killer last line, that is. 

Randy Levine, the Yankees’ president, said last week that attendance at the second home game was proportionately ahead of last year’s pace. Levine also said that 80 to 85 percent of the Stadium’s 4,000 premium seats had been sold for the full season.

For next season, the Yankees plan to raise premium ticket prices 4 percent.

Wow. Just, wow.

You have to admire the Yankees at some level for their staunch refusal to play the public relations game. Empty seats that make Yankee Stadium look like Pittsburgh? We don't care because we're making money all the same. Widespread negative response to a Stadium and the amount it costs to visit? We're raising prices.

On another level, though, that plan turns your stomach. The team's owner has admitted some of the tickets are overpriced, which is a pretty clear sign that they're overpriced, but Levine sees no reason to turn back. Either Levine knows something we don't about where the economy is headed in the next few months, or he's insane. 

Here's a vote for insane. The Yankees' attendance at their second home game in 2008 was 48,544, which meant nearly 85 percent of the seats were filled. This year, the Yankees got 45,101 people through the turnstiles on day two, or 78.5 percent capacity. In 2008, the Yankees gained attendance from the first to the second home game, aided by a rainout, but this year they lost more than 3,000 fans.    

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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