See anything worth buying here?
Today’s front-page Post “exclusive” reports that the Yankees and Mets are in “secret talks” to buy the remnants of Yankee and Shea Stadiums so the teams can sell off the scrap to souvenir-hunting fans. In the story inside, memorabilia expert Mike Heffner raves about the value of New York baseball relics, speculating that in the case of Yankee Stadium, “Each brick could sell for $100 to $300. I doubt we’d have any trouble selling every seat in the house for as much as $1,000.”
Even given the low bar for tabloid exclusives, not much of this is news.
Selling off bits of the old stadiums has always been part of the financial plan for the new ones; two years ago, the city Industrial Development Agency included in its cost-benefit analysis for the Yankees a “salvage value” for the current stadium of $10 million. If Heffner’s estimates seem to blow that projection out of the water — even discounting the bench-style bleacher seats, $1,000 a pop could mean $50 million from seat sales along — keep in mind that in previous stadium auctions, the removal process has meant destroying about one seat for every two extracted, and removal costs themselves have eaten up most of the proceeds. So while there’s definitely gold in them urinals, it might not be quite as rich as the Post is implying.
The only real new news, then, is that the city is considering partnering with the teams for the stadium auctions, either by selling rights to loot the ballparks for a lump sum, or cutting a profit-sharing deal. This could actually make sense for city taxpayers — the Yankees and Mets certainly have more experience separating fans from their hard-earned dollars than the Parks Department, the stadiums’ official owner. Though given the last deal city negotiators struck with the teams in secret talks, you have to hope the Bloomberg administration doesn’t have the same people at the bargaining table this time.