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The Yankees blame StubHub for the lack of sellouts

Oct 15, 2012, 11:33 AM EDT

old turnstile

As has been noted all over the place, the Yankees haven’t been selling out their playoff games.  There are probably a lot of reasons for that, as any remotely complicated market phenomenon is impacted by multiple factors. The Yankees, however, think they have a culprit:

The bigger problem, the official said, is that fans have become used to shopping for bargains on Web sites like StubHub rather than paying full price at the box office. “The reality is there are thousands of tickets on the secondary market, so why would anyone buy our few remaining tickets,” the official said, noting that more than 17,000 tickets were available for resale to Sunday’s game. “We don’t control our own box office anymore.”

Of course you control your box office. Specifically, you control the prices of your tickets.  If you don’t want people to avoid the box office in favor of the cheaper secondary ticket market, MAKE YOUR TICKETS CHEAPER.

  1. number42is1 - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM


    communist !

    • atworkident - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      I am sorry but I think that actually is the exact opposite of communism.

      • hammyofdoom - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM

        Communism is based around everything being shared with a moneyless society. You’re probably thinking of capitalism, which is all centered around profit. Sorry if I’m being uber serious about this, 9:15 AM political science classes lead to this though

      • mkd - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:06 PM

        Communism sets arbitrary prices divorced from the supply and demand curve. Capitalism sets prices based on whatever the market will bear. Milton Friedman would be telling the Yankees to lower their prices right about now.

      • craggt - Oct 15, 2012 at 3:50 PM

        From a pure Capitalist “make as much money as you can” argument Milton Friedman probably wouldn’t tell them to lower prices. If a ticket is on the secondary market that means that Yankees have already gotten paid for that ticket. Assuming that they sell approx 90% of the tickets available (roughly their attendance figures from the regular season) how much would they need to cut prices to get that extra 10%? Probably by enough that the extra revenue from selling that last 10% is less than the net price drop.

        Now thats not to say that I don’t think they should cut prices, their ridiculous stadium was built using public funds and as such tickets should still be affordable for common residents of NYC while still leaving room for the Yankees to make profit.

        The problem with the empty seats is more a PR problem than a Business problem, the Yankees get bad PR when people see on TV that there are empty seats for a playoff game, but from a business perspective it’s not always worth it to sell out if you can get more money for the tickets in the first place, especially when season ticket holders are essentially locked in to buying the tickets.

      • Ben - Oct 15, 2012 at 7:30 PM

        That’s not actually a description of communism. Marx’s problem was the division of labor and its exploitation, not artificially setting prices. Based on Marx’s writing it’s not clear how a truly labor theory of value-based economy would operate; actually existing communism is something rather different from what Marx wrote about.

  2. indaburg - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Not only have they not been selling out, but the ratings for the Yanks haven’t been that great in the tri-state area. I think a certain ennui has settled over the Evil Empire. It’s the baseball version of the law of diminishing returns.

  3. Ben - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Free market uberalles. Until it’s inconvenient.

    • drewsylvania - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:16 PM

      Want to like this more times.

  4. hojo20 - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Four tickets + public transportation for 4 + food vs. Tank of heating oil. Yankees on TBS, please.

    • atworkident - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      If fans in Detroit, St. Louis and Baltimore can afford tickets… New Yorkers have no excuse.

      • dowhatifeellike - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:45 PM

        Game 2 at Camden Yards for the ALDS was the biggest crowd they’ve every had… record Standing Room Only ticket sales.

        Game 4 at Yankee Stadium had 10 people behind home plate to start the first inning, and one of them was in orange.

      • hockeyflow33 - Oct 15, 2012 at 5:37 PM

        Because all New Yorkers have loads of disposable income?

      • dowhatifeellike - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:42 PM


        Because the NYC metro area has 5x more people and it’s also a center of wealth in the northeast.

  5. dowhatifeellike - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    I believe HBT covered this a while ago, but most MLB teams list a certain portion of their own tickets directly on StubHub.

    You can’t use StubHub and then blame a lack of ticket sales on StubHub.

    • mazblast - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:50 AM

      Sure they can. They’re the Yankees. Anything they say is from God’s lips to our ears.

      Anyway, with a little luck, this will not be a problem the Yankees will have to worry/complain about again this season.

      • 18thstreet - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        In fairness — and I hate the f’ing Yankees — this form of hypocrisy is not unique to the Bronx.

    • jimw81 - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      phillies used stubhub all the time. that’s how they got that sell out streak by throwing seats up on stubhub.

  6. jeremysgordon - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Curiously the Yankees didn’t mention they were also were selling “reduced” tickets on Goldstar for $125 a piece for this weekend’s games.

    • cur68 - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      Hey man, there’s “Facts” and there’s “narrative”. Now over here, you got your favouritism…

  7. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Oct 15, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    They reserve so many seats for corporate season tickets that it is difficult to buy individual tickets from the Yankees. I know I gave up some years ago and only look on stubhub now. Perhaps if they did not reserve the whole damned place for Citibank and Chase-Manhattan, actual fans would have some shot at developing attendance habits.

    In the meantime, if fans wanted to sit in those seats, fan would buy the tickets on Stubhub or elsewhere. If Fans don’t want to sit there, try thinking about why and make the adjustment.

    • scatterbrian - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:09 PM

      This explains why the crowds were so damn awful this weekend. At one point, Ernie Johnson asked “have you ever seen a crowd on it’s feet with one out in the eighth?” implying that the Yankees fans are so great they stand and cheer with one out in the eighth. Yes, Ernie, we saw that for three days in Oakland.

      • natslady - Oct 15, 2012 at 5:14 PM

        I noticed that too. How about them Nats fans. On their feet for every play!

    • yankeesgameday - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      Last year I went to a game at Yankee Stadium, paid face value from their own website and for $90 got two seats in Loge right by the first base bag. Directly over that electronic Nathans ad. They were great seats and really affordable. Heck, it cost as much for the cab ride in from kennedy as a ticket to the game directly from the Yanks. So they don’t reserve everything and great seats are there to be had at decent prices. I only use stubhub for very last minute things or concerts that are sold out and I want premium seats.

  8. fmlizard - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    When I can get a ticket on a beautiful August evening 8 rows deep behind home plate at Fenway Park for $5, why would I ever stand in line at the box office like everyone else without tickets did that night?

  9. chill1184 - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Now where did I put that violin?

  10. psuravens19 - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Just blame it on AROD… that seems to be the popular thing to do in NY, isn’t that right Yankee fans?

  11. craggt - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Every other team has to deal with StubHub too, guess what they sell out all their postseason games. Do you know what the difference is? They don’t try to sell tickets for upwards of $1500 a seat making it so the only people who can afford them are law firms and banks who only use them to schmooze clients. When you price out your fanbase people stop coming to games, the prices are doubly ridiculous when you consider the absurd amount of public money they used to build that monstrosity of a stadium.

    • sabatimus - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM

      This is why I’ve only been to one major league-level sporting event in probably 15 years–$140 apiece for two up-close tickets to see the Boston Bruins. And that was a Christmas gift. AND, that $280 doesn’t even come close to what you’d pay at most or even all MLB games (yes I know the popularity between these sports is different and helps dictate the price.)

      • craggt - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:36 PM

        Actually you’d be surprised how inexpensive Tickets can be in places not named New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Detroit Tiger’s tickets are very reasonably priced. Regular season tickets the row behind the Tiger’s dugout are less than $70 a ticket, (I’ve been able to score these a few times from a friend with season tickets). Outfield seats are normally only like $15, and they regularly run promotions for $5 tickets.

        I was able to get Tickets to a ALDS game last year and I think they were only like $45 each, granted they were about as far away as you could get but they’re still playoff tickets. Trust me no ticket was being sold for under face value on the secondary market for that game.

  12. Alexandra - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    For some reason, I don’t think Stub Hub is the problem… By that logic, shouldn’t the games be sold out if people can get cheaper tickets from a secondary source? Maybe I’m misunderstanding.

  13. phipfwe76 - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    After a quick search on the Yankees site and Stubhub, most tickets are going for about face value for a would-be game 6. So there goes that theory.

  14. craggt - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    The Yankees were only able to draw 6300 more fans per game this year than Detroit, despite the fact that the Metropolitan area of NYC is some 19 Million people compared to 4.3 Million for Metro Detroit. It’s sorta sad really.

    • normcash - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      Plus, Yankee Stadium seats almost 10,000 more than Comerica. The Tigers could easily
      have sold 50,000 tickets for many of their games this year if they’d had the capacity.

      • rich7041 - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        Of course, in NYC there are alot of things to go to (pay for) on a Saturday. Not everyday, but two baseball teams, two football teams,two basketball teams, 3 hockey teams, Broadway, museums, etc. You have to plan accordingly. And everything is alot more expensive. I’d go to more games myself, if my wife didn’t like cultural things more. All that said, glad I turned down the offer of tickets to Saturday’s debacle.

      • craggt - Oct 15, 2012 at 3:59 PM

        Talking about how many other sports teams there are in the area is irreverent if they’re not playing at that time as is the case with every one that you mentioned (I’m sorry, preseason Basketball doesn’t count). And again the Metro area of NYC is more than 400% of the population of Metro Detroit yet the Yankees were only able to muster 15% higher attendance.

  15. willclarkgameface - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    WWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH says the Yankees who have some of the highest priced individual seats in all of MLB.

    Are they fucking real with this? If they were able to let their fans come in for a nominal rate to watch a game, the place would be packed day in, day out. This is not a new problem for them. This has been going on since 2009 and I don’t see it ending any time soon unless they make things…I don’t know…AFFORDABLE.

    It would be nice for people to show up to Yankee games that aren’t in a certain upper echelon tax bracket. Every time I watch that team and they scan around the stands I can’t help but feel like these fans are fucking ridiculous in their suits screaming for other wealthy human beings to be even more successful than they already are. It’s sick.

    I do find humor, however, in the fact that all these rich bastards trek all the way into the shit hole known as the Bronx to watch a baseball game. Make ’em earn it Yankees. Make ’em earn it.

  16. chumthumper - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Have the Yankees considered the possibility that many of their fans are just tired of watching the team stink the place up?

  17. simon94022 - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Obviously this demonstrates that New York is not a baseball town.

    How does “Montreal Yankees” sound?

  18. alexb64 - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    So people aren’t buying the tickets because they’re cheaper on StubHub? Yes! It makes sense now. I was just walking through the market yesterday noticing the sales & thinking to myself “This food is priced too cheaply! I’m not paying LESS than I could normally!”

    This, from a humble outside opinion, is much more representative of the culture they created with the new stadium. That section behind homeplate (I hardly see them being embarrassed about seats empty out of camera shot) is like one big country club for the wealthy, and that’s how they marketed it as too. I recall seeing blog postings where the marketing pitches those potential seat buyers centered around being waited on & with access to foods & beverages not available to the rest of the stadium & how there would be a barrier between them & other fans. So since THAT section is their biggest issue I have bad news for them, those seats are sold. Just the people who bought them only did so because they could & not because they actually gave a crap about going to the games.

  19. pdowdy83 - Oct 15, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    I’m confused by this. The tickets on stubhub were ALREADY purchased from the Yankees. That means they are complaining about tickets being cheaper on Stubhub but those tickets were already bought at face value from their own box office. If I am understanding this right the Yankees want people to just stand in front of the Yankee stadium box office and scalp their tickets the old fashioned way so it doesn’t effect their online business…

  20. bankboy2012 - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Tickets already sold at face value aren’t selling even at less than face value on the secondary market. Tickets are still available at face value from the team. Why aren’t people coming to the box office?

    It’s not really an exercise in circular logic, there’s a solution there if you really want to find it. I bet if you give this to any Econ 101 student they can solve the problem for you.

  21. mmf511 - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    I bought tickets Saturday afternoon for Game 1 that night. $25 a pop for upper deck left field. Crazy cheap. These tickets usually go for about 8-10 bucks on stubhub during midweek games all season on Stubhub.

    There’s about 24 seats in a row, and in our row, there had to be maybe 10 people max. Never seen it like this before.

    Same thing is happening at the Meadowlands with the Jets/Giants.

  22. greymares - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    besides to sell out would require citizens from New Jersey and Connecticut to venture into the a$$hole of the world to witness a sporting event.

  23. mattcerrone - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    I love how all these reasons for why Yankees games aren’t selling out are being given by the Yankees organization and their fans. Yankee fans used to rip other cities like Atlanta for not selling out their playoff games. And now that the shoe is on the other foot, there are all these reasons and justifications for why they’re not showing up.

    That is called hypocrisy.

  24. shawnsmith262 - Oct 15, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Reblogged this on Sidelined and Fined.

  25. 1baseballfan - Oct 15, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    1) I’m a Yankee season ticket holder (partial plan). The initial reason I bought the package was because it guaranteed me a shot at playoff seats (not my own).

    2) When I go into my Yankees account online and choose to sell the tickets I am forwarded directly to Stubhub. Furthermore whn I list the tickets for sale my season tickets are temporarily invalidated until I either sell the seats or withdraw them from sale. MLB is directly in bed with Stubhub.

    The key is apparently supply and demand. What a concept! When the economy was stronger I used to make money on the Yankees tickets I sold on Stubhub. This year I lost.

    In a strong economy it’s probably better to get the seats from the team if they are available. If the economy (or strength of opposition, or A-Rod’s OPS is low) is weak it’s better to detal with Stubhub.

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