Victims of the economy have taken to occupying Zuccotti Park to protest the economic situation, but the bleacher seats in Yankee Stadium might end up unoccupied after the recent ticket hike.
The New York Yankees have announced bleacher seats will see an increase in ticket prices. Season ticket prices have risen to $20 per game, up from $15 per game. Season ticket packages now cost $1620 – a steep increase from the $970 they were a year ago.
Over the past three seasons, bleacher seats have seen a price increase of 67%
Yankees officials claim the move is to combat secondary resellers such as Stub Hub, or the scalpers out front of the stadium. But legendary Bleacher Creature “Bald Vinny” Milano sees things differently. As CBS local New York reported, Bald Vinny pointed out that many games during the season see bleacher seats selling for as little as $3 or $5 on Stub Hub.
Even if you haven’t heard of Bald Vinny, you’ve certainly heard him during Yankees broadcasts. He’s the fan leading the famed Bleacher Creatures in their ritualistic roll call for the players each and every home game. Earlier this offseason, Bald Vinny officially announced his retirement from the bleachers, citing economics as one of his reasons.
It’s a shame, but it’s a bigger shame that the Yankees continue to make things hard on the diehard fans.
In the old stadium it was a physical barrier to the stadium that ostracised the bleachers, but in the new Yankees Stadium it’s economics. The premium seating opened in the new stadium costing $2500 per seat per game. After many seats sat empty for much of the season, the Yankees eventually slashed those prices down to a mere $1500 per game.
Out in the bleachers, you don’t get the surf and turf lobster and steak buffet, and you don’t get a waiter to service straight to your seat. You don’t even get a back on your seat. But what you do get are the diehard fans who go out and support the team no matter the weather or the visiting team. It isn’t a businessman on a cell phone waving at the television camera, it’s somebody decked out in merchandise who can rattle off the entire roster.
Now, the Yankees are charging prices for bleacher seats that rival that of grandstand seating. Only, in the grandstands you get a back to your seat to go along with the arm rests.
The hit on the loyal fans is the real downside to all of this. Corporations are still buying up the pricey seats in the front row, but it’s the average fan in the cheap seats that are getting shafted. The diehard fans are the ones that keep baseball going as a strong sport, and they’re the ones who gave Yankee Stadium its homefield advantage during the last Yankees dynasty.
The Yankees are welcome to charge whatever they want for their product; it’s their economic right, and it’s well within the rules of supply and demand. They just need to understand the cost of all this. Nobody wants to sit in a stadium filled with a bunch of Wall Street suits who can afford the seats but can’t name a player other than Derek Jeter. They might sell more fillet mignon, but it comes at the cost of the real soul of baseball.
The Yankees shelled out $46 million for Kei Igawa to pitch out his contract in the minor leagues. They gave Carl Pavno $4.5 million for each W he earned on the Yankees. With that in mind, try justifying $5 a ticket as a 33% increase to your most loyal fans. You might find them occupying Wall Street, but less of them will occupy the bleachers.