I was stunned when I saw this photo of Yankee Stadium and realized that it was an in-game photo and not batting practice. Look at all of those empty $2500 seats.
I am not the only one who is noticing this. This photo tells the story.
It says that there are a lot of Yankee fans out there, they just can’t afford $2500 seats and $100,000 for seasons tickets. Some will say this is a temporary economy thing but I think there is something to the idea that the uber-rich have other options for entertainment than heading down to Yankee Stadium while those who are passionate about the game, can’t afford to attend. Does it send the message that the Yankees are no longer for them?
Perhaps the decision by the New York Mets to spend half the money on Citi Field is going to be a good one after all. The Yankees could find themselves hurting over the decision to build this shrine. My understanding is that the expensive seats subsidize the cheaper seats and pay most of the bills and cover the debt servicing. The debt on Yankee Stadium stands at an incredible $1.3 billion.
With all of those seats unsold and lots of empty luxury boxes, the stadium that was built to guarantee a competitive advantage could come back to haunt them as debt payments rival signing free agents.
Update: The New York Times noticed the same thing as well.
The empty seats are a fresh sign that the teams might have miscalculated how much fans and corporations were willing to spend, particularly during a deep recession. Whatever the reason, the teams are scrambling to comb over their $295- to $2,625-a-seat bald spots.