Economics

New York Yankees Don't Understand The Free Market

Baseball's ultimate capitalists don't like fans buying tickets for the prices they're actually worth on Stubhub.

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The New York Yankees are known for being

The beer is worth more than the seat.
Flickr/Wally Gobetz

Major League Baseball's financial juggernaut, taking in monstrous amounts of revenue while putting out rosters with payrolls that frequently push the $200 million mark. Historically, they have unapologetically embraced capitalism, usually to the benefit of their fanbase. That is, until their fans figured out how to score below-face value tickets on Stubhub.

In response to this technological advance in customer service, the Yankees announced they will no longer accept print-at-home tickets (a common and convenient method for customers of the secondary ticket market), ostensibly to combat fraud, even though Stubhub claims its customers encounter fraud in a mere .01 percent of transactions

Feigning concern that fans would be ripped off, Yankees COO Lonn Trost admitted in an interview with WFAN radio that the real reason for banning print-at-home tickets was to protect the feelings of the high-rollers who overpaid for their premium seats and to keep those customers safe from the presence of less ostentatiously wealthy attendees who may have (gasp!) "never sat in a premium location."

As a lifelong Yankee fan who has grown to loathe the class warfare directed at the fanbase, I took the team's tone-deaf elitism to task in a new column at The Week:

Ever been bumped from a flight, only to win the lottery by getting a free First Class upgrade on the next flight? Ever had to endure the glares from a passenger who just knows from the way you wiped with your warm towelette that you just don't belong in the rarified air of the front of the plane? Trost feels that guy's pain.

Regarding Trost's concern for the class of fan (who rarely show up for games anyway) that might have buyer's remorse for spending more than a grand to attend a regular season baseball game, I wrote: 

Let me put it plainly: The person spending $1600 to sit behind home plate is a chump. The seat is not worth that much. If it were, the fan that scored the seat for a third of the price on Stubhub wouldn't be there. The Yankees built the new stadium before the 2008 financial meltdown and baseball's ultimate capitalists refuse to accept that the revenue projections they relied on back then have plainly failed. The "Legends" seats are simply not worth what the team is charging. It's called supply and demand, a concept apparently lost on the class of rich and entitled fans who Trost so fears will be "frustrated" by his/her fiscally irresponsible choice to buy a full-price ticket.

Read the whole thing here.