Friday, September 4, 2009

Yanks Slash Prices On Most Expensive Seats For Playoffs

On Monday the Yankees send out a press release announcing their ticket prices for the postseason. It garnered a good amount of positive press based on the fact that the prices are going to be lower than they were in 2007, which is fairly remarkable considering that took place across the street at the Old Stadium.

Without getting into specifics, almost all of the prices for the ALDS are equivalent to the regular season norms, and it escalates from there as it gets deeper into October.

Well it's nice that the Yankees have made their ticket prices for the playoffs more affordable, although you could probably argue that since they haven't registered a sellout since Opening Day, it might be more of a necessity than a courtesy. But when the playoffs roll around guess who gets the real break... the people with the most expensive seats. From the press release (emphasis and numbering mine):
Regular season ticket prices for full-season ticket licensees (non-Suites) will be replicated for the 2009 American League Division Series (i.e., a Main Level ticket that costs a full season ticket licensee $60 in the 2009 regular season will cost the same licensee $60 for the ALDS), (1) however, full-season ticket licensees (non-Suites) of $325 Field Level seats may purchase their seats for the ALDS at the lower price of $275 each.


(2) Full-season Suite licensees in the Legends Suite, Delta Sky360 Suite and Jim Beam Suite, have all already paid their Suite license fees. Accordingly, they will only be required to purchase their Suite tickets, which will range from $65-$275 per Suite ticket for the ALDS, $115-$350 per Suite ticket for the ALCS, and $150-$425 per Suite ticket for the World Series.
What that boils down to is that (1) the very best non-Legends seats are going to be less expensive for the people with the seat licenses and (2) the (mainly corporate) Suite ticket holders don't have to pay their license fee at all.

Now, considering the fact that the first bunch paid $325 for their seats all year, it doesn't make a ton of sense to suddenly drop the price for by far the most desirable games of the season. I guess that's the Yankees' way of throwing them a bone after ripping them off all this time.

As for the Legends and other Suites, their license fees make up a giant portion of the ticket price. For instance, the seats I sat in back in June had a $250 seat license and just a $150 face value, meaning that they would only cost the latter amount for the ALDS. (The ~$100 food and beverage fee would still apply, but that's optional).

We've discussed the concept and execution of the Legends Seats multiple times here and an underlying theme throughout those posts was a distaste for the way that the Yankees have bent over backwards to cater to the their richest customers, while taking for granted their core fans.

This would seem to be another example of that, but the upshot is that it's highly unlikely the seats that so often sat unoccupied early in the year will be similarly vacant when October rolls around. Furthermore, if the Yanks sell out all their seats, it might trigger the release of the supposed standing room only seats which would make playoff tickets easier to come by for non-season ticket holders. In that scenario, everyone wins.

Another intersting offshoot (for me at least) is whether or not the Yanks will lower the prices for the Legends seats next year. It would be tough to do because some of the companies signed multi-year contracts at the original prices. Something to keep an eye on this offseason...

(Full disclosure: This post in the NYT Bats Blog noticed the same policy in the press release and came to some of the same conclusions, but I had this post written before that one was published. I didn't really feel the need to go back and retroactively insert it into my post.)

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