• Empty Seats At Yankee Stadium In 2012

    Posted by on June 4th, 2012 · Comments (34)

    Via AM New York

    Yankee fans, your eyes aren’t deceiving you — there are indeed more empty seats at the stadium this year.

    The Bombers are averaging 40,950 fans this year, down from 42,885 at this time last season, and are seeing their lowest attendance since in their new ballpark, which opened in 2009.

    Although the difference may not seem like much, the Yankees have drawn under 40,000 a game 10 times this year, having done that once in the prior five seasons.

    “I think some of the novelty has worn off,” Benjamin Kabak, managing editor of the Yankees blog River City Blues, said of the new stadium. The Yankees declined to comment.

    Dom Cosentino, a contributing writer for Deadspin, also attributed the decline to the team’s lackluster performance.

    The Yankees have a 29-24 record and are third in the AL East. The soggy weather hasn’t helped either, according to Cosentino.

    “No one wants to see a team with lots of injuries that’s barely above .500,” he said. “Especially if it’s a Tuesday night and it’s raining.”

    Cosentino said the fans will return if the team plays better.

    “If they go into August and find themselves 20 games above .500, they won’t have this problem, but if they’re out of the [playoff] race, no one’s going to come,” he said.

    At the end of the day, is a difference, on average, of 2,000 less fans per game, give or take, really a big deal? Then again, I guess that dips and slides have to start somewhere, right?

    Comments on Empty Seats At Yankee Stadium In 2012

    1. KPOcala
      June 4th, 2012 | 12:51 pm

      The empty seats and the threat of them just may keep Hal from ever getting too frugal with the budget ceiling. The Boss always understood that idea…

    2. MJ Recanati
      June 4th, 2012 | 1:00 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      The empty seats and the threat of them just may keep Hal from ever getting too frugal with the budget ceiling.

      I actually don’t think one will affect the other. The incentive to getting at or under $189M for 2014 is too great to otherwise ramp up spending as a means to influence attendance since, after all, there’s no reason to believe that another free agent would affect attendance.

      Moreover, since very little of the Yankees revenue stream is made up of ticket sales (other than season tickets/premium seat sales), a dip in attendance in the bleachers or upper deck from general ticket sales won’t really be missed that much by the ballclub. The value of the YES/CBS contracts and the windfall that all 30 MLB teams share in MLB Advanced Media (the website and online apps) are what really drive the Yankees financial engine.

    3. Evan3457
      June 4th, 2012 | 1:10 pm

      2000 fans a game is about 160,000 fan-games a season, or somewhere
      about $5-10 million a year. Not that significant to the Yankee bottom line perhaps, but the slightly lower demand is very significant to the secondary ticket market, for all home game except the Mets and the Red Sox.

      With threatening weather forecast for Tuesday night against the Rays, you’ll see some of the $300+ seats behind home for $100 or less on StubHub, some of the $150 Main Infield seats (especially those in rows 1-15 which are not under the overhang) in the $50 or less range, and Grandstand Infield seats in the 1st 5 rows going for as little at $5.

      If you can afford to wait until 4:30-4:55 pm, you might see some real steals.

    4. KPOcala
      June 4th, 2012 | 7:18 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      MJ, are the tv contracts a set figure or is it ratings based?

    5. MJ Recanati
      June 4th, 2012 | 9:17 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      MJ, are the tv contracts a set figure or is it ratings based?

      For a team that sells its rights to a sports network — say, the old Yankees/MSG or Mets/Fox Sports New York model — the figure is a function of what the network estimates ratings to be plus whatever leverage a baseball team has over the network(s) they’re negotiating with.

      In the current model — where the Yanks and Mets own a significant interest in their own sports networks — there really isn’t an exchange of broadcast rights for fees. The Yanks are merely pocketing their share of ad sales. It’s all found money.

    6. June 4th, 2012 | 10:21 pm

      I think the Yankees are a year or two away from this becoming a very real issue. The team is old and desperately in need of an infusion of young talent. That’s why the Jesus Montero deal was so foolish. What is really the Yankee fan base, and how many who follow the team will switch caps the first time something better comes along. I remember what the late 70′s were like around here when everyone you met was a Yankee fan, fast forward to the mid and late 80′s and many of those same people were wearing Met caps (like Billy Crystal) .

    7. LMJ229
      June 4th, 2012 | 10:30 pm

      This is what you get when you have a team of millionaires that are under-performing.

    8. KPOcala
      June 4th, 2012 | 11:49 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      So if I understand correctly, if the Yankees were to go into a protracted slide there tv revenue would decline, along with ticket sales. So it would follow that ownership still has some pressure to put a top team out given their expenses. Hence my apprehension about the team’s aging expensive roster, and lack of immediate minor league help. Of course this is nothing new to people that follow this blog. IMHO, Hal will have to go over the cap, if only for 1-3 years. Appreciate the explanation of their revenue stream.

    9. June 5th, 2012 | 7:26 am

      Hal is a finance guy. That’s all he cares about. He wants to maximize revenue and minimize expenses. That’s all that matters to him. He is not his father. He has no passion for wanting to win at any cost.

    10. Raf
      June 5th, 2012 | 7:50 am

      KPOcala wrote:

      Hence my apprehension about the team’s aging expensive roster, and lack of immediate minor league help. Of course this is nothing new to people that follow this blog.

      Understand this drum has been beaten year in and year out…

      As for the aging roster, guys like Jeter, Ibanez, Rivera & Pettitte among others are the ones skewing the average age of the roster.

    11. MJ Recanati
      June 5th, 2012 | 9:17 am

      KPOcala wrote:

      So if I understand correctly, if the Yankees were to go into a protracted slide there tv revenue would decline, along with ticket sales.

      In that scenario, the TV revenue may decline based on the fact that ad sales could be worth less on a network generating lower ratings. Having said that, one part of a network’s value is in how much original programming they are able to televise. By holding the broadcast rights to the Brooklyn Nets, the YES Network still controls valuable property that should generate revenues for the network and filter back to Yankee ownership.

      KPOcala wrote:

      Hence my apprehension about the team’s aging expensive roster, and lack of immediate minor league help.

      A lack of immediate minor league help in 2012 is not necessarily a condition that shall persist indefinitely. The reason the Yankees mix in prep athletes/arms with college arms is that you can always count on a college arm to two to make its way up the system within a 12-18 month window. As a result, by next year the Yankees could have some of their college arms from the 2009 and 2010 drafts ready to join the bullpen or contend for a spot at the back end of the rotation.

      As far as college bats, the very best of them tend to be drafted well before the Yankees get a shot to pick so you’ll never see a Ryan Braun or an Anthony Rendon or a Pedro Alvarez coming through the Bronx, especially with the new draft rules. That’s why the Yankees will continue focusing on prep athletes that, although they take longer to develop, may offer equal rewards in the end.

    12. MJ Recanati
      June 5th, 2012 | 9:18 am

      Raf wrote:

      As for the aging roster, guys like Jeter, Ibanez, Rivera & Pettitte among others are the ones skewing the average age of the roster.

      And, interestingly enough, it’s those guys that are performing the best during this so-called disappointing start. Age only matters when you’re not playing well. When you’re performing, age is irrelevant.

    13. MJ Recanati
      June 5th, 2012 | 9:19 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      He has no passion for wanting to win at any cost.

      Given the penalties and incentives of the new CBA, he’s right to not want to win at any cost.

    14. MJ Recanati
      June 5th, 2012 | 9:25 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      think the Yankees are a year or two away from this becoming a very real issue.

      In fairness, your credibility is damaged by the fact that you’ve been predicting the Yankees’ demise for several years now.

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      The team is old and desperately in need of an infusion of young talent.

      The team is not as old as you say it is. There are a few players that are old, and a few players that are still in their primes.

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      What is really the Yankee fan base, and how many who follow the team will switch caps the first time something better comes along. I remember what the late 70′s were like around here when everyone you met was a Yankee fan, fast forward to the mid and late 80′s and many of those same people were wearing Met caps (like Billy Crystal) .

      It’s an interesting question. However, I posit that the business of baseball is far more diversified and mature than it was in the 1970′s and there are more revenue streams now whereby a team could lose a percentage of fans and still remain incredibly profitable.

    15. June 5th, 2012 | 10:32 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Given the penalties and incentives of the new CBA, he’s right to not want to win at any cost.

      This is interesting. When it comes to A-Rod and his production and salary, you say “Who cares what he’s being paid, it’s not my money.”

      And, yet, when it comes to the owner, you’re OK with him saving money if it means putting a shitty product on the field?

    16. MJ Recanati
      June 5th, 2012 | 10:49 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      This is interesting. When it comes to A-Rod and his production and salary, you say “Who cares what he’s being paid, it’s not my money.”

      Rodriguez was paid following the best season by a righty batter in at least 50 years and perhaps the best RHB season ever by a Yankee. For the then-best corner infielder in the league, he was paid an astronomical sum by the owner’s oldest son, a guy that bloviated just as often (and just as foolishly) as his father did. Given the elder Steinbrenner’s penchant for overpaying players, I find it hard to believe that Hank didn’t take a page out of dear old dad’s playbook. The aftereffects of this decision are, obviously, that the Yankees locked themselves into retrospectively rewarding a player well into the decline years that were sure to come.

      Having said that, what I always say — and what you’re incorrectly attributing to me here — is that it’s foolish to look at a player’s salary and expect X performance. If contracts are backwards-looking then, of course, performance will rarely match salary. The Yankees felt it best to keep Rodriguez, gave into his demands and are now paying for performance that they couldn’t have realistically expected. It’s the owner’s money, I don’t care what Rodriguez is making and I can’t begrudge him the fact that it was Hank and not Hal at the other end of the negotiating table. It’s not my money so I don’t care what players make. If you can earn it, that’s great for you.

      Steve L. wrote:

      And, yet, when it comes to the owner, you’re OK with him saving money if it means putting a shitty product on the field?

      First of all, let’s stop with the “shitty product” nonsense. This “shitty product” is nearly the same team that won the 2009 World Series, made the 2010 ALCS and won the division by a comfortable margin in 2011. If you want to see a shitty product, watch the Cubs, Padres, Astros or Twins. Those teams are 10 games under .500 and have nothing to play for already.

      To be precise about what I said, I took the perspective of the team owner. Given the way the incentives and penalties are structured under the new CBA, no owner should be willing to spend an unlimited amount the way George Steinbrenner used to. There’s simply no reward there when you’re taxed at such a high rate and the incentive to get under the luxury tax threshold in 2014 is incredibly enticing.

    17. KPOcala
      June 5th, 2012 | 12:46 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:MJ, good analysis. To me it makes sense to move Cano to third to save both his and A-Rod’s body, find a capable second baseman, shift Granderson to left to save his body, reaping the benefits of Gardner’s superior glove. Then find a top right fielder. Next year of course. Unless they can sign Swisher for a year which is doubtful…Oh, and they need a top utility type to spell Jeter. It seems to be the best way to extend an aging squads life-span. Idea?

    18. MJ Recanati
      June 5th, 2012 | 1:18 pm

      @ KPOcala:
      On moving Cano to 3B – It’s too soon to do that. To the extent the Yankees intend to retain Cano after his contract expires, then maybe they can consider doing so but, for right now, when we still don’t know that the Yanks are going to keep Cano around (and my vote is to say goodbye), they should squeeze every ounce of juice out of Cano as long as he’s still the best second baseman in the game.

      On moving A-Rod (presumably) to DH – Again, it’s premature to do so. You can make him a full-time DH right around the time he shows a complete inability to play the position and/or stay on the field due to problems with his legs. Right now that’s not the case.

      On finding a capable second baseman – Once upon a time, in 2010, the Yankees had a 2008 3rd rounder named David Adams from UVA. He was on his way to being a viable MLB 2B. He blew out his ankle, derailed the Cliff Lee trade, spent roughly a year rehabbing and is only now back at Double-A. The Yanks don’t have a capable internal option at 2B unless you consider current Triple-A 2B Corban Joseph that option. I personally don’t but stranger things have happened. For that reason, I’d leave Cano exactly where he is and make sure you get everything you can from him and then discard him.

      On shifting Granderson to LF – I’d have no problem with that, provided that Gardner ever comes back. He’s been gone six weeks already. Then again, it’s going to be hard to tell the best offensive player on the team that he doesn’t get to play CF when he’s done nothing to lose the job.

      On the Swisher situation – I highly doubt that he’ll be retained. I’m not overly concerned about the RF situation. We can find someone to play there via bargain hunting in free agency.

      On a utility player – Perhaps Nunez comes back with a greater ability to play at least passable defense. Perhaps not. Utility players can be signed in free agency, provided that the Yankees stop with the nonsense of carrying 13 pitchers on the 25-man roster.

    19. Raf
      June 5th, 2012 | 6:07 pm

      A lot of people screamed when Girardi replaced Stanley. A lot of people laughed at Colon and Garcia as viable pitchers. Granderson was supposed to be Rupert Jones 2.0. Jeter was supposed to have been done after 2008. The pitching staff imploded in 2005, The Yanks were supposed to have been done in 2006 with Matsui and Sheffield missing considerable time.

      Let’s take a wait and see approach before we bury the Yanks?

    20. Raf
      June 5th, 2012 | 6:08 pm

      BTW, it seems the post Pujols Cardinals are doing just fine, so far…

    21. KPOcala
      June 5th, 2012 | 7:11 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      Well my thoughts are for next year and beyond. Assuming Cano’s still healthy next spring then moving him across the diamond would certainly give the Yanks both power and younger legs at the position. Likewise, A-Rod really would benefit with the bat (I hope) And I believe that Granderson wouldn’t get upset, it would save his body so his bad should last longer. Remember, Ricky Henderson who was a CF came over and played right field. The press/team said in effect that playing left field at The Stadium was not exactly a demotion, and it would save his legs for the bases. If Henderson, only a couple of notches below Sheffield for being a pain did it……I agree with you on Swisher, but who’s going to be on the market that the Yankees will want to splurge on? Time is running out on their great offense, how are they going to play this out? Cashman had better have the money or “The Right Stuff” to pull this off, and hopefully a couple pitchers down in the minors figures it out, but fast…

    22. June 5th, 2012 | 7:35 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      MJ, age is a major issue on this club. August 1st will see the Yankees start the month with a 38 year old shortstop a 37 year old 3rd basemean and nothing in the minors to deal with any of this. The two players under discussion are major part of the Yankee core. Worst still they have a 1st baseman who appears to be slowing down before his time. I have been concerned the last few years about Mariano that’s why I was in favor of signing Soriano. Gardner is a player who plays hard and I think will wear down earlier than expected. I know you think this can be fixed with free agents and player position changes but I think there is too much to fix.

      I don’t disagree that the team will remain profitable and when it’s sold it will bring in more money that any sports team in history. What I don’t know is how many real Yankee fans there are, and how many are fair weather fans.

    23. Corey
      June 5th, 2012 | 8:04 pm

      I’d rather keep Cano than Granderson, but I would let both walk.

    24. Corey
      June 5th, 2012 | 8:08 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      August 1st will see the Yankees start the month with a 38 year old shortstop a 37 year old 3rd basemean and nothing in the minors to deal with any of this.

      There’s a first time for everything :)

    25. Corey
      June 5th, 2012 | 8:08 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      I have been concerned the last few years about Mariano that’s why I was in favor of signing Soriano.

      Why? They have a ton of pitchers who can let people on base and then sometimes get out of it.

    26. Corey
      June 5th, 2012 | 8:09 pm

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Gardner is a player who plays hard and I think will wear down earlier than expected.

      Has nothing to do with how hard he plays. Speed is always the first thing to do, and that’s Gardners main weapon. So basically, duh.

    27. Corey
      June 5th, 2012 | 8:10 pm

      Corey wrote:

      to do

      to go**
      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      What I don’t know is how many real Yankee fans there are, and how many are fair weather fans.

      I would say 95%. But that’s true of every team.

    28. MJ Recanati
      June 6th, 2012 | 9:12 am

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      August 1st will see the Yankees start the month with a 38 year old shortstop a 37 year old 3rd basemean and nothing in the minors to deal with any of this. The two players under discussion are major part of the Yankee core.

      I hate to break it to you and your narrative but Jeter and A-Rod have been replaced by Cano and Granderson as the offensive core of the ballclub. Anything that Jeter and A-Rod can provide is absolutely welcome and fantastic but, as Jeter and A-Rod struggled in 2010 and 2011, Cano and Granderson became the two best players on the team.

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Gardner is a player who plays hard and I think will wear down earlier than expected.

      This is a laughable point. In an earlier thread, you ripped the Yankees for picking Gardner over Cabrera. I guess the Yankees erred in keeping the player that “plays hard” over the player that exhibited dubious work habits and a questionable commitment to his craft?

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      What I don’t know is how many real Yankee fans there are, and how many are fair weather fans.

      I’m not sure that matters, even from a business perspective. Despite being a deeply leveraged ballclub with a diminished fanbase and declining TV ratings and putrid attendane, the Mets still generated the 10th highest revenues in baseball ($225M). They may have the highest debt load in all of baseball (69% of debt to value ratio) but they’re still making gross profits. That should indicate that even a core fanbase with all the fair weather fans stripped away is enough to sustain a very healthy business. The Yankees have a minimal debt load which means that they’ll be even more profitable than the Mets, even after all the fair weather fans flee the Bronx (according to your theory, anyway).

    29. Evan3457
      June 6th, 2012 | 9:44 am

      Corey wrote:

      Joseph Maloney wrote:
      Gardner is a player who plays hard and I think will wear down earlier than expected.
      Has nothing to do with how hard he plays. Speed is always the first thing to do, and that’s Gardners main weapon. So basically, duh.

      Actually, the evidence is that “slow players” age and decline faster than “fast players”, who, starting with more speed of various kinds, are still viable as major leaguers even when they lose a little bat speed.

    30. Evan3457
      June 6th, 2012 | 9:48 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Joseph Maloney wrote:

      Gardner is a player who plays hard and I think will wear down earlier than expected.
      This is a laughable point.

      To wit: who has played harder than Jeter over the length of his career? Did he wear down earlier than expected? Every player is different. Gardner is Gardner. If he “wears down earlier”, it’ll be because his hitting skills decline to the point where he’s no longer viable as a regular. And when that happens, he might still squeeze out another couple of years as a bench glove/pinch runner.

    31. MJ Recanati
      June 6th, 2012 | 10:18 am

      Corey wrote:

      Why? They have a ton of pitchers who can let people on base and then sometimes get out of it.

      LOL!!

    32. June 6th, 2012 | 12:52 pm

      Gotta say, I just checked out getting tickets for Camden Yards. For 85% of what you pay to sit in the Main Level by 1B at Yankee Stadium, you can sit right behind home plate on the field level at Camden. That’s a huge difference.

      If the Yankees ever adjusted their prices to be in line with Baltimore, they would sell out every game and demand would be insane.

      But, as we know, that’s not going to happen.

    33. MJ Recanati
      June 6th, 2012 | 1:03 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      For 85% of what you pay to sit in the Main Level by 1B at Yankee Stadium, you can sit right behind home plate on the field level at Camden. That’s a huge difference.

      Yep. A buddy of mine that lives in Wisconsin but is originally from Maryland maintained his O’s season tickets specifically because it was so cheap for him to have four seats about 15 rows behind home plate (something like $65/seat).

      Steve L. wrote:

      If the Yankees ever adjusted their prices to be in line with Baltimore, they would sell out every game and demand would be insane. But, as we know, that’s not going to happen.

      Nor should it. The O’s can fill barely one third of their stadium. Why would the Yankees ever offer tickets at Baltimore prices when the markets aren’t the same and the demand isn’t so low as to justify undercutting themselves so drastically.

    34. Raf
      June 6th, 2012 | 6:43 pm

      Baltimore had been a pretty bad team up to this point. Yankees, not so much.

      IIRC there were quite a few people who were upset at the price of tickets at Camden Yards vs Memorial Stadium.

      Of course it should be noted that the Mets have a different pricing tier than the Yanks despite them playing in the same city.

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