I'm a die-hard Yankees fan and a season ticket holder for the most storied franchise in sports history. I've been buying the tickets online through the Yankees' "My Yankees" pane that it operates with Ticketmaster. Until now, I was happy with my package of games and the affordable seats I got.
But 2009 is a different story. The Yankees have a new stadium, higher pricing, and a relocation process that has caused Yankees fans to question the motives of their favorite team.
Right now, there are season ticket holders with seniority dating back more than five years that are still waiting for their season tickets, while others, who do have seats, have been moved from the infield to the upper deck. The main reason: Yankees brass decided to use the Web as their main source of adding new season ticket holders, which combined with more people wanting to see the new stadium, created demand that caught team officials off guard.
"As it turned out, we had an unexpected number of fans who wanted the full season, not dropping down because of the economy, but going up," Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost told Newsday in an interview. "We didn't expect there would be such a demand for fulls and we have to salvage 6,000 or 7,000 seats a game for general sale."
To address concerns, the Yankees are now offering "premium seats" to displaced season ticket holders or newcomers for $325 per game for a full season package and $350 per game in a partial season plan. Those seats are located "dugout to dugout" just above field level. Good seats. But there's one problem: last year, a comparable seat in the old Yankee stadium behind home plate was selling for $100.
There's a lot of blame to go around. Some say that the Yankees shouldn't have been so "greedy" in their attempt to add more season ticket holders, while others are saying that it's the relatively recent availability of season tickets online that has substantially reduced the barriers to entry and made it possible for so many people to quickly and easily buy season packages.
Nowhere are both arguments more pronounced than in the place where the fervor started in the first place: online forums. As of this writing, NYYfans.com forum has a 177-page thread on the relocation process dating back to 2007. On average, more than 30 concerned fans are adding comments to that forum each day.
Are the Yankees alone?
With under two months until the season starts, now is the time for most teams in the Major League to start making their big pushes for season tickets. Season ticket holders are important to any team because they basically guarantee cash for a certain number of games before the season even starts. That's precisely why the Web is such a key component in ticket distribution across Major League Baseball: Ease of use translates into more revenue.
I ventured around the league (online) to find out if fans in other cities were having as much trouble as Yankees fans trying to get season tickets and good seats. Fortunately, the Yankees debacle looks like an isolated event.… Read more