13 years ago, when my wife was just my girlfriend, we decided to make a serious commitment together and begin to look towards our future...share a Yankees season ticket plan. As both long-time fans, we typically went to around 10 games a year. We both grew up in New York and were raised watching Reggie, Willie, Donny baseball, Boomer and countless other heroes and Yankee moments in person.
The decision was pretty simple - $32 a seat on the main level between 1st base and right field just under the loge overhang. Commit to 16 games (most on Sunday) and you get early access to playoff seats, as well as tickets for opening day. The best part was, that if we couldn't go, it was always easy to sell the tickets to friends, and in most cases, we could post them online and make a lot more than we paid - I was never letting them go.
Fast forward to fall of 2012. There's a new stadium - meh, I'm not a big fan as compared to the older one across the street. Tickets are now $80 a seat, and with the move, my seats are no longer on the field level. I no longer get opening day as part of the package, and if I can't make a game, I often have to sell them at a big loss or give them away.
I also have kids now (2 of them), so my set of 2 aren't as convenient as they used to be, and spending $320 for a family outing to a game of which the kids can tune in to 6 innings at best is not the greatest return on investment.
Now there's also StubHub...a secondary marketplace with no floor in place to control how low tickets can be sold. Because there are many people/businesses in my situation who continue to hold their tickets, they list them on StubHub and take what they get - usually all under face value. Last summer the four of us decided to see a Yanks-Red Sox game and went on StubHub a few hours before the game began and saw hundreds, if not thousands of seats available. I bought 4 for under $200, printed them at home, and we had a blast, 6 innings and all.
It's ironic that this should happen given the new megaplex of a stadium, the fact that the Yankees consistently make the playoffs, and that there are now 50,086 seats available vs. 56,936 in the old stadium. Basically they shrunk supply and killed demand at the same time - how?!?! Well, it's an obvious answer - they outpriced the market with their ticket costs. They had such hubris in terms of what people would pay to watch the Yankees, they killed demand instantly. Seats behind the dugouts were going for $2,500 each, and those along the foul line were $1,000 each. No surprise these seats were mostly empty the first 6 home games of the season - a mix of outrage and the banking collapse forced the team to lower the premium prices in half. Tickets priced in the hundreds stayed the same, and even our little $80 seats were considered to be "great deals".
So this week I got my renewal notice - 2 seats at 16 games for $2,585 ($2,560+$25 FedEx fee) and I'm going to pass. I called my account executive and explained the above and asked what he could do for me...he really had nothing to say. He's a nice guy but his commissions are really going to get hit since I'm not the only one seeing it this way - he even told me as much. His counter-points were that a) you get an account executive (ok, but not sure why that helps me), b) you can exchange your tickets 2 weeks in advance for a different game (nice, but I have to go up to the Bronx for this - won't happen) and c) you can re-print your tickets if anything happens (no worries, I'll just be careful).
I'm a bit of a creature of habit, so it's painful ending this tradition, but I'm adopting with the economics - hopefully my team will too someday.