How strange an opening season has it been for the new Yankee Stadium? The ticket prices were so astronomical that thousands of empty seats remained even in the playoffs, Peter Gammons called it the biggest joke in baseball, and they served hot dog buns that were apparently cooked when Babe Ruth built their last stadium. Oh, and just for good measure, it’s already falling apart.
(What makes you think that these people would know anything about the ticket situation? Does it say “Tickets” somewhere? Oh crap, that’s exactly what it says. Uh-oh.)
The operative problem here is the tickets; since the Yankees have no qualms about pricing themselves out of a sellout, the possibility of picking up some remaining tickets lingered on through yesterday and today. And by possibility, of course, we mean “the team not telling fans that it was sold out.” Not a huge problem, until you realize that 200 of those fans happened to be camped out at the stadium waiting for hours and hours in the middle of a rainstorm, waiting for those nonexistent tickets. Then we’ve got trouble.
So things are not pleasant over at the Washington Redskins ticket office these days (Motto: We’ll get to your call when we damn well feel like it). On Wednesday the WASHINGTON POST revealed apparent shenanigans, in which Redskins personnel were selling tickets straight to scalpers, while a 100,000-person waiting list did without. (See photo). And today, this:
If your grandmother can’t pay for her Redskins tickets, Daniel Snyder will sue her and throw her out on the street.
The Yankees have already screwed the average fan numerous times, most recently by trying to move everything in season ticket packages, and not opening up single game sales until less than 2 weeks before opening day. Well, they’ve added a new wrinkle to their plot to separate New Yorkers from their cash: outright lying about cheap seats not being available.
Here’s the short story: don’t ask for any seats less than $375, because you’ll be told they’re all sold out. They’re lying to you. It’s a particularly insidious and illegal way to sell their most expensive tickets.
For the long story, which I hope reads extra bold because I’m pounding the keyboard that hard in my anger, meet me after the jump.
Are you not ready to wish college basketball goodbye for the year? Do you wish you could see just one more unexciting blowout? Are you a fan of subpar hoops, like you saw last night? Well, you’re in luck, because tickets for tonight’s UConn-Louisville women’s national championship game are still available.
(Don’t expect many wide angle shots of tonight’s game.)
As of press time, I’m able to get seats as low as the plaza level, which are the best in the house besides the folding chairs on the floor. But to be fair, it’s tough to sell 72,000 seats to any event, like the men’s title game was able to do last night. What’s that? This game isn’t in a giant arena, but the 20,000-seat Scottrade Center in St. Louis? And what else, you say? It’s clear no one gives a damn about women’s basketball? Well, you said it, not me.
Thanks to THE BIZ OF BASEBALL, we finally have a great, comprehensive breakdown of all the tickets at the new Yankee Stadium and just how much each seat will cost its buyer, and the stats are positively startling. Yet the scary thing isn’t just the high-end cost for seats behind home plate — $2,625 per game, by far an MLB record — it’s also the overall average per seat price, breaking down to a whopping $237 per seat for the upcoming season. Needless to say, that’s the most in that category, too.
(Plenty of seats still available … for $2G!)
Need more proof? Just check out the price for seats in the Legends section, a second tier area (Sections 11-29) where tickets range from $525 (and there’s only a couple that cheap) to a $2,625 that’s just as expensive as home plate. In fact, the only way to get the average ticket price at the new Stadium below $200 is to exclude all the suite seats entirely, which are precisely one of the primary reasons the team was building this stadium in the first place; to charge more for corporate suites so tickets wouldn’t be more expensive in other parts of the park. Guess that didn’t happen.
If you needed any more proof that the economic downturn is starting to seep into sports, here it is: The Columbus Blue Jackets, who happen to not be one of the professional hockey teams on the verge of bankruptcy (see under: Coyotes, Phoenix) are offering a payment “installment” plan to help fans pay for seats at upcoming games. As the unpronounceable yet terrific Greg Wyshynski writes in YAHOO’s PUCK DADDY blog — which may soon double as the “sad economic news in sports blog” — this just can’t be a good sign.
(Blue Jackets vs. Predators. Actual attendance: 2)
According to the team’s web site, the “payment plan” starts on Dec. 29th after paying the initial $10 when the seats are purchased. And what do you get for your 150 clams? Tickets to three weekend games … in the upper bowl. Lower bowl seats are twice the price. Ouch.
That’s right, it takes installments of $20 just to see a hockey game in Ohio in decent seats. Sure, the Blue Jackets may be paying steep rent for their downtown Nationwide Arena, but there has to be a better way to get people in the door to some of the most attractive games on the schedule (they can’t sell weekend tickets? Really?) than installment plans of $10-20, right? Evidently not.
This might be a bit more than simply the “Manny being Manny” sort of thing that Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez is well-known for at this stage. According to the PROVIDENCE JOURNAL’S SOXBLOG, the slugger got into a bit of a disagreement with a team traveling secretary over ticket allotment.
(Ramirez, making better use of his hands.)
Ramirez made a request for 16 tickets to last Saturday’s game in Houston to traveling secretary Jack McCormick, and that’s when the apparent incident began.
The EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE has one of the feel-good stories of the day involving Phil Mickelson. While playing the FBR Open in Phoenix on Sunday, Mickelson gave a father and his son tickets to the Super Bowl. The two were following Mickelson’s round.
Call it the cynic in us, but it is interesting to note that Mickelson’s story was reported as well by the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. How do you figure those outlets found out about his random act of kindness? Probably from Mickelson himself. But that doesn’t diminish his generosity. It’s a very cool story.
Dogs can have quite the active appetite for sports. When they’re not eating World Series-clinching baseballs, they’re chewing up Super Bowl tickets.
BUSTED COVERAGE alerts us to an ARIZONA REPUBLIC story of a black lab named Buddy, who gnawed on the stubs for next week’s big game.
Buddy’s owner had requested that the courier sending the $900 seats leave the envelope underneath his doormat. Instead, the package was slid under the front door, where Buddy was waiting. He “licked, mauled, chewed and swallowed portions of the coveted tickets.”
We believe the ticket-shredding Rev. Walter Hermanns has found a new pet. But don’t totally blame Buddy for his expensive snack - maybe he thought Michael Vick was playing.
With friends like these, who need enemies? The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports that a Packers fan asked a pal to help him out - only to see one of his NFC Championship tickets shredded.
The Rev. Walter Hermanns suffers from multiple sclerosis & is confined to a wheelchair. So the reverend called upon a good samaritan to help him out with some of his paperwork, including the shredding of some papers left in a bin. Unfortunately, four tickets to Sunday’s game were in the same bin.