All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Plenty of good seats still available

CNBC had a segment on the sports business today. They mentioned that the Mets and the Yankees were both having trouble selling seats in their pricey new ballparks.

I must say, it looks awful on TV. All those expensive seats behind home plate - empty. Right behind the batter. It wasn't like that last year.

AP had an article about it:

Pricey seats at new Yankee Stadium a Bronx bomb

NEW YORK - At the new Yankee Stadium, the best seats in the house have turned out to be the emptiest.

The most expensive spots in America’s costliest ballpark have become an embarrassment packing a financial sting to the proud New York Yankees, as the Legends Suite section in the infield has been filled only once in the six games since the $1.5 billion stadium opened last week.

On most days, the seats that cost $500-$2,500 as part of season tickets and go up to $2,625 for individual games haven’t been close to full. And as TV cameras pick up the patchy attendance with every pitch, it serves as a little tweak to the nation’s richest baseball franchise.

I think the Yankees made a big mistake. Yes, they got burned by the economic downturn, but even without's just wrongheaded, to make so much of the stadium off-limits to ordinary fans. If you don't have an uber-expensive ticket, you can't even enter the lower level to take a photo or beg an autograph during batting practice. It's a real bummer for the kids. Heck, even rich people are likely to think twice about buying $2,000 tickets for their kids.

I thought minor league baseball might do okay in a bad economy. Tickets are cheap, parking is usually free, and people who can't afford a big league game or out-of-town vacation might opt for a trip to the local minor league ballpark instead.

But I forgot how dependent on corporate sponsorships even minor league baseball is these days. I went to my first SWB Yankees game of the year...and was shocked at how empty the stadium was.

Yes, it's early in the season. Yes, it was cold and a bit rainy. But I went even earlier last year, when it was just as cold and even more rainy. And it wasn't nearly as empty.

Last year, there were never any seats available in the lower level. The lower level often looked pretty empty, but the seats were all sold - season ticket holders, I was told. I could only get seats in the upper deck. I went to several games over the season, from April to August, it was always the same: no lower level tickets available.

On Wednesday, there were plenty of seats still available in the lower level. Even behind home plate.

I asked for my usual seat instead: first row on the end, upper deck, right above first base. The ushers were shocked to see anyone sit up there. And I felt kind of silly sitting there, too. I didn't want to be too crowded, but there was almost no one downstairs. It was one of those games where it almost seemed like there were more people in the dugouts than in the stands.

I would guess that this means the SWB Yankees did not sell nearly as many season tickets as they sold last year. That's why so many lower level tickets were available, when none were last year. Season tickets are often bought by companies, and I suspect many are cutting back.

I can't get over how empty the ballpark was. It was the Mets farm team visiting - presumably of some local interest. Phil Hughes was on the mound for the SWB Yankees, and Freddy Garcia was going for the Bisons. And hardly anyone showed up to watch.

Phil Hughes looked fantastic. He went 7.2 innings.

Freddy Garcia was with the Bisons on rehab assignment.

Top Yankees prospect Austin Jackson:

Top Mets prospect Fernando Martinez:

Eric Duncan played 3B and went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk.

Mark Melancon pitched the rest of the game for the SWB Yanks.

Juan Miranda pops it up.

Shelley Duncan pops it up. (With bases loaded and a big lead, they were swinging for the fences.)

Final score: SWB Yankees 6, Buffalo Bisons 1.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:22 PM


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