How much are tickets going to cost at the new Yankee Stadium next season? So much that even Red Sox President Larry Lucchino thinks they’re ridiculous. If you want the best seats in the house, you’ll be paying a face value of $2,500 even for a mid-week snoozer against the Orioles.
(Now Yanks can afford undershirt for Yogi?)
The warm fuzzies of last night’s celebration at the stadium have given way today to speculation about what the new park will bring to the table — and how much richer baseball’s Goliath will get going forward. Lucchino has his worries, especially facing an economic downturn. And he’s in charge of the second richest team in baseball. What is everyone else thinking?
Appearing on Fox Business Channel on Friday, Lucchino committed to keeping the Red Sox at Fenway Park but seemed to concede that he might have to raise prices again to keep up with the Empire. Via SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY:
“Our prices will not reach the stratosphere the way that some of the new prices in [N.Y.] will perhaps reach the stratosphere next year with the new ballparks. But we have to compete with those teams, particularly with the Yankees.” Lucchino also said there will not be a new Fenway Park “on our watch,” as the current ownership group “is committed to Fenway Park”
According to the SPORTING NEWS’ Bruce Schoenfeld, the revenue that just a fraction of the seats will create on a yearly basis at the new stadium is astounding:
Much attention has been paid to tickets that will cost $2,500 a seat, which would be high for a heavyweight title fight, let alone a May weeknight against the Royals. According to preliminary pricing outlined in a Yankees memo, only 147 seats are priced that high. Still, over 81 games, those alone will bring in an astounding $29,767,500, roughly $8 million more than the Marlins’ entire payroll at the start of the 2008 season.
The next level of seat is $1,250, followed by $1,000 and $850. More than 900 seats have been earmarked at those prices, bringing in $65 million per season. An additional 1,217 seats will cost between $350 and $750. In all, from the 2,285 most expensive seats, the Yankees can expect to bring in $135 million in revenue.
So, I guess what this means is that they can afford to keep Kei Igawa’s salary on the books. That’s a lot of cheddar for a ballpark that may not have created too many new jobs.
Lucchino chimes in on this article too, with a bit of an ominous tone:
“One should be concerned that a new ballpark in the largest sports market in the Western world will have a profound impact on its tenants,” he says. “We’ll have to redouble our efforts to keep up with Goliath.”
The rest of baseball is treading lightly with all of this. Some folks seem to think that if the Yanks take their spending to a whole new level ($50 million a year for Matt Holliday? Sure!) that the salary cap discussion might gain some steam (and perhaps lead us to another collective bargaining showdown):
“If they get too outrageous and force salaries to a stratospheric level, they’re going to invite teams like ours to say, ‘That’s enough. It’s salary cap time,’ ” says Paul Godfrey, president/CEO of the Blue Jays. “If the Yankees go nuts on this, maybe even Boston will join the salary cap era. And if the salary cap does trigger, you’re going to have a very different competitive balance.”
It will be interesting to see what the Red Sox do to “keep up” with the Yanks, considering the Sox have won two titles this decade and a whole cavalcade of small-to-medium payroll teams have seen postseason success (if only fleeting success). Meanwhile, the Yankees continue to spend more but are getting further from the World Series. If the Sox send ticket prices through the roof again, Lucchino will probably have to spend every night shaking the fans’ hands as they come through the gate.