Sports business reporter Darren Rovell at CNBC reported on September 15 that the New York Yankees are releasing their ticket prices for season ticket holders. The report notes that more than 80 percent of the tickets at Yankee Stadium will remain the same, but those able to afford the most expensive seats at the stadium are going to get a bit of a break.
Rovell reports that some of the most expensive seats will see as much as 40 percent reductions -- with seats behind home plate being cut to $235 or $250 from their current $325.
What is interesting is what is happening with some of the per-game suite tickets. These tickets carry a price tag of $2,500, but they will cost $1,500 in 2010. This cut is a surprise because many of those purchasing these tickets agreed to pay "between 3 and 6 percent more for their seats each year," dependent upon the length of the commitment made to the team.
Thankfully, Rovell has done the math for us -- a person or company agreeing to purchase the most expensive seats in the stadium ($2,575 per game) for 81 games over the next 10 years was going to pay $834,300 for four of these tickets in 2010; the price cut slashes this nearly in half, as it will now cost $486,000 for these seats.
The report hints that the Bronx bombers may guarantee that these escalating percentages will also not apply in 2011. It is nice to see a team that is responding to the financial needs of its fans. The problem is that most of the ticket prices will remain the same -- meaning that those paying the least for their tickets will continue to pay the same prices (and people dishing out $100 for their seat will pay $25 more next year, impacting roughly 1,700 fans).
Don't forget that we are being told that the economic recovery is on its way, which will lead to higher prices. The Yankees will continue to make money, because the team will continue to win. Winning leads to more money for the team, which leads to the team signing better players, which leads to more winning -- a nice cycle for fans of winning (or should I say "big market") teams.
The story is quite different for the smaller market teams, who will pay out what they can for inferior talent -- eventually losing money because their teams are eliminated by the time August rolls around. Check the attendance for teams like the Kansas City Royals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Cincinnati Reds. The numbers have dropped off considerably, which means that these teams will be strapped for cash when the time comes to bargain with potential free agents.
Of course, we already know that the best free agents will sign with the Yankees and/or Red Sox. Once again, game over for the small markets -- thanks to the Golden Rule of baseball: he with the gold wins.