The Yankees have proven to be recession proof this offseason. Signing CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira was a strong way of letting their fans know that an economic climate that's threatening whole countries won't stand in the way of fielding a team of stars. Their fans aren't proving quite so resilient, however.
The Yankees have seven luxury suites and about 1,000 of 4,000 premium seats still available for the season, and have hired Prudential Douglas Elliman, a real estate brokerage, to help sell them. The New York Times reports that the team hopes the real estate brokers can reach people that they haven't been able to, namely owners of high-end real estate. Since the Yankees have been fairly well publicized over the last century, it's a safe guess that these people aren't so much baseball fans as people who like to own the most expensive thing in the world.
Neil Sroka of Douglas Elliman Worldwide Consulting told the Times that buyers can still get a 20-game package for $7,000 a seat. “It’s obtainable,” he said. “In this economic time, people are still looking for things to take their children or grandchildren to.”
$14,000 for 20 baseball games isn't actually obtainable for that many people, nor is there a dearth of things to share with one's children and grandchildren that actually are obtainable. This whole notion of "premium" seats, a term which exists to make the buyer feel special about himself, is a noxious one in ballparks where box seats used to do just fine.
It's more than a little stomach-turning to see Yankees president Randy Levine calling this an innovative way to sell tickets. The team's paying a consulting fee to the brokerage for their help turning up new buyers, rather than lowering the prices and offering them to the hordes of people they've priced out of the stadium. You're giving up money either way, after all, so why not give it up while making something obtainable to the many rather than finding another way to exclude them from the building?