Mets, Yanks Fans Not Filling Up Their New Ballparks


Apparently not even the prospect of starring in baseball’s new umpire replay videos is enough to induce New Yorkers to shell out $300 for tickets to the new Yankee Stadium.

After River Avenue Blues ran photos of entire empty sections during Friday’s matinee, things got even worse yesterday, when a mere 43,068 paying customers crossed the turnstiles.

Noting the “gaping sections of expensive seats from dugout to dugout,” the TimesGeorge Vescey observed: “Either the Yankees have not actually sold those seats, or the bankers and brokers with the corporate seats are taking weekend jobs to make ends meet in this rotten economy they helped create.”

Over at Citi Field, meanwhile, the Mets have yet to have a sellout — when I attended last Wednesday, the upper deck was packed and the field-level seating was half-empty — and after six games rank a disappointing eighth in the majors in attendance, after placing second in the final year of Shea Stadium. Photo (cc) affiliate.

So that’s all well and good if you’re looking to snag a four-pack in the Delta Club Silver section, but does it mean that any tickets actually available at prices affordable to normal humans? While cheap seats via the teams’ websites are hard to come by, the Great Ticket Price Bubble collapse is in full effect over at StubHub: If you want to attend tonight’s first-ever night game at the Big Billionaireyard in the Bronx (which will likely be rained out, but never mind that), you can pick up $22 upper-deck seats for as low as $6 apiece, while $55 face-value Main Level Outfield seats start at just $9.99. And a quick scan of Citi Field tickets on the Hub reveals plenty of discounted tickets available for upcoming games as well — though a few poor souls are trying to unload “Empire Club” seats for $3,000 each as well.

It’s a phenomenon happening all over baseball — Bud Selig even publicly admitted he no longer believes the national pastime is “recession-proof” — but most noticeably here in New York, where the local teams used the supposed allure of shiny new ballparks to jack up prices to previously unheard-of levels. “Sometimes people say, I’m such a baseball fan, I’m not going to change my behavior,” says University of Chicago sports economist Allen Sanderson. “But I don’t believe that for a moment: They’ll buy fewer tickets, or buy one beer instead of three. In the same way that when cigarette prices go up, smokers say, ‘Oh, no, no, I’m addicted, I’ll smoke the same.’ But we in fact know that when cigarette prices rise 10%, it drops consumption by about 2%.” Plenty of Mets and Yanks fans, then, appear ready to kick the habit — which could make for a long summer in the teams’ bean-counting departments.