• Yankees: StubHub Is Why Attendance Is Down

    Posted by on June 6th, 2012 · Comments (6)

    Via the Post -

    Yankee Stadium attendance is down 3.6 percent so far this year — greater than the 3 percent drop last season — and the team is blaming StubHub for its gate woes.

    “We believe there are serious issues with the StubHub relationship,” team president Randy Levine told The Post yesterday. “We are actively reviewing more fan-friendly alternatives for next year.”

    The Bronx Bombers and other Major League Baseball teams have bellyached about StubHub for a couple of years — as more fans turn to the low-priced online reseller for tickets instead of buying directly from the team.

    The Yanks and other teams claim tickets are priced too low on StubHub.

    The StubHub effect this year — combined with a lousy economy and a poorer on-field performance — has produced an average crowd of 40,949 through 25 games, compared with 42,491 last year.

    Season-ticket sales have dropped a few thousand, to the mid-30,000 range, the drop about the same amount that daily attendance is down, a source said.

    Compared with last season’s total average attendance, the Yanks’ 25-game average is off 9 percent.

    Overall, MLB attendance is up 7 percent. Much of that is due to the Miami Marlins moving into a new stadium.

    Plus, the Yanks had been the first or second best-selling MLB team through their first three seasons in the new stadium. This year they are only the fifth best-selling team.

    Levine said the team’s contract with StubHub expires at the end of the season.

    The Mets’ attendance is down a similar 4 percent.

    No question – I can see how some would stop buying season tickets and go the StubHub route. But, I am not sure I see how switching from StubHub to another service would mean that ticket prices would not go down? If people have tickets to sell, they’re going to want to discount them rather than eat them.

    Comments on Yankees: StubHub Is Why Attendance Is Down

    1. June 6th, 2012 | 10:50 pm

      I saw this tonight on ESPN.com:

      The Yankees official said professional ticket brokers treat the tickets as a commodity and “short” them. The brokers put up a ticket for sale, one executive said, before they own it, and then buy a ticket at a lower price to turn a profit. The brokers then pass on the ticket to the original buyer.

      “We don’t allow speculative selling on baseball,” StubHub spokesman Glenn Lehrman said.

      Lehrman said if StubHub discovered this, the company would put a stop to it.

      As an example, the Yankees officials said that prior to last year, there were 250,000 tickets for sale on StubHub before the Yankees had even printed the tickets.

      “We certainly believe in an open market,” Lehrman said.

      Lehrman didn’t dispute that tickets could be listed before they are printed. However, he added that the seller must let the buyer know when they expect to have the tickets in-hand.

      +++++++++++++++++

      I never thought of this – someone selling a ticket that they don’t own and then buying one at a lower price and using that to fill their ticket sale.

      If someone has the time to do that, why should there be a problem with it?

      Is it any different than a car dealership selling you a car that they don’t have on their lot, and, when you agree on a price, they then go out and find that car at another dealer for you (and have it shipped to their lot)?

      Is it any different than a match-making firm promising to find you a mate, taking your money, and then them going out to find someone for you?

      As long as the seller comes through and provides what the buyer agreed to purchase, does it matter if they had the item in stock or had to go and get it after the sale was agreed upon?

      Do you have to have an inventory before you open your store?

    2. MJ Recanati
      June 7th, 2012 | 9:02 am

      Here’s what I don’t understand: I’ve bought tickets from StubHub before (for concerts and baseball games). You are given very specific information about where your seats are, right down to the seat numbers in a specific row. So how could a ticket broker sell two tickets in Section 105, Row 10, Seats 1-2 (for example) without having possession of them and then go out onto the open market looking to fulfill that exact order?

      I realize that StubHub has the “FanProtect Guarantee” policy which states that “[A buyer will] get the tickets…ordered, they’ll be valid for entry, and they’ll arrive on time for [the] event…If not, we’ll locate comparable replacement tickets or provide you a refund.”

      I guess by guaranteeing “comparable replacements” that’s how they create the loophole for brokers to sell inventory they don’t possess and then substitute Row 10, Seats 1-2 with Row 9, seats 15-16?

      I’ve had this happen to me once and the the replacement seats were in the same price point but with a much worse view of the stage (for a concert). I swore that if it ever happened again, I’d stop using StubHub.

    3. June 7th, 2012 | 9:47 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Here’s what I don’t understand: I’ve bought tickets from StubHub before (for concerts and baseball games). You are given very specific information about where your seats are, right down to the seat numbers in a specific row. So how could a ticket broker sell two tickets in Section 105, Row 10, Seats 1-2 (for example) without having possession of them and then go out onto the open market looking to fulfill that exact order?

      Excellent point.

    4. LMJ229
      June 7th, 2012 | 8:08 pm

      Really, how could the Yankees and other MLB teams not see this coming? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. And the Yankees have been hit particularly hard because their ticket prices are so high and it’s so expensive to go to games.

    5. June 8th, 2012 | 6:43 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      And the Yankees have been hit particularly hard because their ticket prices are so high and it’s so expensive to go to games.

      Great point. The Yankees have had a hand in creating this problem. If their prices were reasonable then people would buy direct from them.

    6. MJ Recanati
      June 8th, 2012 | 8:35 am

      LMJ229 wrote:

      And the Yankees have been hit particularly hard because their ticket prices are so high and it’s so expensive to go to games.

      Steve L. wrote:

      The Yankees have had a hand in creating this problem. If their prices were reasonable then people would buy direct from them

      Actually you can look at the other side of the issue too: part of signing an exclusivity agreement with Stubhub allowed the Yankees to get data on what tickets were selling for on the secondary market. As a result, the Yankees were simply pricing their asset at a level that Stubhub data showed consistent with the market.

      For the Yankees to cry foul now is obviously silly because they were using Stubhub for very accurate, up to the minute market data that most other businesses can’t get.

      My retort to both of your comments is that the Yankees didn’t set high prices arbitrarily because they want to soak their customers, they set prices according to what both the primary and secondary market was willing to pay. Market conditions may be changing and the Yankees will certainly change along with them. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a price adjustment for 2013 (unless, of course, the Yankees make it to the World Series this year, in which case all bets are off).

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