Are the Yankees screwing us on memorabilia? The Times points out that the city has what looks like an extremely sweet deal on bits and pieces of the old Yankee Stadium: they give us $11.5 million, and they get to do what they like with the debris of the stadium built in the mid-70s (with taxpayer assistance). Their Yankees-Steiner Collectibles partners will try to peddle it to fans.
Who won that deal?
On the one hand, sports collectibles are a drag on the market right now. Dealerships are closing down and buyers are holding back. Yankee magic doesn’t necessarily exempt Bombers items from this downswing: Last October a big Guernseys auction of Yankees mementos (including notable home run balls and World Series rings) had to pull several items because no one was willing to meet their opening bids.
On the other hand, collectible items fluctuate in worth, and the Yanks can sit on the Stadium junk till better days and price emerge. Plus they can conceivably split every brick and beam into pieces, availing an almost unlimited number of sellable items. Also, $11.5 million isn’t so much in the Yankee universe — the Times says, “To put the $11.5 million payment to perspective, consider this: The Yankees earned that much by selling 56 full-season tickets to sit in the $2,500-per-game premium seats behind home plate.” (Or not selling them.)
We tend to think We the People got screwed, if only because that’s usually the safe bet.
Update: The Yankees will announce today how the auction will proceed. Stadium development critic Richard Brodsky has denounced the deal: “The value of the relics of Yankee Stadium is clearly much more than $11.5 million,” he says. “After a year long delay which cost the people of The Bronx access to their parkland, the deal that has apparently been struck is again an economic victory for the Yankees and an economic defeat to the taxpayers.”