Desperate Yankees Can’t Sell New Premium Seats

The interest is there. The payroll is there. The only thing that isn’t there for the Yankees, it seems, are the fans. According to business of sports writer Richard Sandomir in THE NEW YORK TIMES, the Yankees are struggling to sell any premium seats or luxury boxes … and they’re getting desperate.

new yankee stadium

(See those empty luxury boxes? They’ll be empty during the season, too.)

It’s probably not too surprising that even the Yankees would have a hard time moving tickets that cost $325-$2,500 in an economic recession, but Sandomir brings up an interesting corrolary, with those seats still unsold, it will be even harder to fill them with Alex Rodriguez out of the lineup for up to four months.

Think about it: If it was taking a huge sell job — complete with full-page ads in THE NEW YORK TIMES for four straight weeks — to get any traction on filling the empty seats in the first place, it’s going to be even harder to convince anyone to buy them without one of the biggest draws on the field.

Of course, since this is the Yankees, the team hasn’t considered the one option that might help sell tickets: dropping the pricetag. In fact, as they’ve made clear earlier this year, there are no circumstances under which those are going down.

So what are fans doing? Easy, they’re buying fewer tickets — often smaller plans — and watching more games at home.

Jonathan Fox of Tenafly, N.J., said he rejected being moved from the upper deck, usually behind home plate, where he had a 20-game plan costing $60 a ticket, to $70 seats near the right-field foul pole in a 12-game plan.

In an e-mail message, Fox wrote: “While cloaking the move to the new stadium in a lot of propaganda about doing it all in the interests of a better experience for fans and a boon to the Bronx, the move was really about selling slightly fewer seats at a gigantic price premium, geared to corporate wallets and hoping to capitalize on the ‘bubble years’ appetite for premium-priced tickets to sports events. We’ll be watching from great seats in our living room.”

That makes a lot of sense to us. We’ll see if Yankees management ever gets it. Something ells us they won’t.