Anyone who caught either of the Yankee games on TV this week likely noticed that it felt like April all over again. Huge swaths of empty seats provided a backdrop for pinstriped action, just as they did for games during the team's first homestand. That likely didn't impact a decision announced by the Yankees late on Tuesday night, but it certainly confirms that they're doing the right thing.
The Yankees have slashed the prices of field level seats from $325 to $250 or $235 next season, a savings of up to $9,430 per seat for those who buy full-season plans. Additionally, the notorious $2,500 "Legends Suite" seats closest to the field will cost $1,500 a contest next season. You don't need a fancy abacus to know that that's $81,000 less per seat over the course of a season, a sickeningly large amount of money when you realize that we're talking about baseball tickets.
The concession made by the Yankees is actually larger than that lost revenue. When buyers signed up for those seats, they agreed to price hikes between three and six percent each year. According to Darren Rovell of CNBC, the Yankees not only cut the prices for 2010 but told the subscribers that they wouldn't be in effect for 2011 either. That's a nice savings and should probably spur more business for the remaining inventory before next April.
Of course, this wouldn't be a Yankees ticket story without the team doing something headscratchingly stupid. Every seat in the Stadium either saw its price tag drop or remain the same with the exception of seats in Main Level sections 216, 217, 223 and 224 which will go up by $25 per game. Steve Lombardi of Yankee blog Was Watching did the math and found out that will gain the Yankees $3.5 million in revenue next season and asks if they really need the money that badly.
That's not the point, of course. The point is that they're seeing what they can get away with pricewise all over the Stadium and saw this as a place where tickets were concievably selling for less money than the market would bear. It's a simple business decision, unless it actually happened because team president Randy Levine was so desperate to save face after screaming himself hoarse about how the Yankees would cut prices just as soon as Osama Bin Laden was living in the White House. "Just give me 1,700 seats to make my point, Hal, and then they'll see that Randy Levine will never cave! NEVER!"
It was probably the former, but you can never discount the latter for a team that's worked so strenously at turning public opinion against them.