One of our favourite Twitter accounts to follow is @si_vault. Andy grey, the man behind the account, posts pictures from the Sports Illustrated photo vaults. Yesterday, he came up with a gem. An image of the New York Yankees ticket pricing from 1987.
The prices are amazing.
For about the price of a nice TV today you could have purchased two field-level season tickets back 1987. But what we need to do is put those numbers into context.
Let’s take a look at how much those prices have changed in the last 24 years…
OK. So now we know that ticket prices have gone up anywhere from 171-2900% in the last 24 years.That looks like a pretty big jump. For comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has increased approximately 300% since 1987 (pre-crash).
So what are the Yankees doing with all this extra revenue?
Player salaries of course.
It is not clear exactly what the Yankees opening day payroll was in 1987. But we can see from Baseball-Reference.com that it was a little more than $6.4 million. If we estimate the 1987 opening day payroll at $7.0 million, that would actually be less than Major League Baseball’s average payroll in 1987 (~$10.5 million*).
The Yankees opening day payroll this season was $206.3 million. That is an increase of ~2800% since 1987. While that is on par with the upper-end ticket price increases, that is a bigger increase than the rise in ticket prices as a whole.
For example, if bleacher seats had increased 2800% since 1987, you would now have to pay almost $90 to have some guy with a thick Bronx accent puke on you. As it is now, you only have to pay $14 for the pleasure.
It is hard to imagine, but based on the product on the field, Yankees ticket prices are actually cheaper now than they were in 1987. OF course, that is little consolation for the hardcore Yankees fans that have been replaced by corporate suits in Replica Yankee Stadium.
Maybe that is the true cost of a $200 million payroll.
*Based on an average player salary of $412K in 1987.
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