After a boycott by fans over crazy ticket prices and another mediocre start for the team, talk has already begun that the new $1.5 billion Yankee stadium is doomed.
If the Yankees stay stubborn about ticket prices, it might be: It won’t take long for the place to develop a gilt-edged “curse” that will dog Yankee teams for decades. But if the Yankees are willing to be flexible, there’s an easy fix.
The Yankees should fill every seat in the house every game–by offering last-minute price cuts online. 24 hours before each game starts, for example, remaining seats could be sold via an online auction in which prices drop 1% a minute until they’re all gone.
This would once again pack the stadium. It would generate more revenue than the team is making now. It would take advantage of the free market to more appropriately price tickets for a given game based on demand. And it would help restore the perception that the team actually cares about its fans.
The risk, of course, is that people and corporations stop buying tickets in advance so as to save money. This could be managed, however. People will pay a premium for guaranteed seats and advance planning. Corporations wanting to entertain clients, for example (for whom the new stadium was primarily designed) would never wait until 24 hours before the game to buy the seats–especially if they risked losing them. The same goes for season ticket holders. It would take time to get the advance vs. real-time pricing right, but the benefits of having the stadium packed would outweigh any early lost revenue.
From the WSJ: Since it opened in April, scads of empty seats in prime locations have compelled the team to cut prices. Tickets to a recent Boston Red Sox game, usually a hot item, were selling for $8 on StubHub, the online reseller. Home runs are flying out of the place at an alarming rate (the park’s average of 3.62 per game led the majors before Thursday night). The Yankees absorbed a 10-2 loss in the park’s first regular-season game and allowed a stunning 22 runs in its third.
As the Yankees return Friday for their third homestand at the new “Taj Mahal,” as outfielder Nick Swisher calls the park, here’s a sobering thought for the franchise and its fans: What if this $1.5 billion ballpark doesn’t help the team? Is it possible that this magnificent facility could fail?
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