It’s interesting to look back, today, at what Ken Belson wrote about the new Yankee Stadium on July 23, 2006:
Making the most of a winning tradition and their home in the nation’s biggest city and media market, the Yankees generate nearly $300 million in annual revenue, according to an individual with knowledge of the team’s finances. He requested anonymity because of his continuing professional relationship with the team.
The Yankees’ haul is produced by its share of the No. 1-ranked regional sports network, YES, as well as the more than four million fans who flock to the Bronx in a season and pay top dollar for tickets, parking and food at the 83-year-old shrine known as the House That Ruth Built. The Yankees also get some of the highest licensing and advertising fees in Major League Baseball.
TO keep up with the escalating prices that it pays its players — a surge that Mr. Steinbrenner himself set in motion — the Yankees need still more revenue. Yet they have extracted about as much as they can from Yankee Stadium, which now suffers from a dearth of luxury boxes, parking and retail outlets. The Yankees’ bottom line is also hammered because the team, like the Mets and Red Sox, must pay millions of dollars to prop up less-prosperous teams. Effectively penalized for their success, the Yankees have become a symbol of baseball’s partially inverted economics.
Mr. Steinbrenner, who declined to comment for this article, is grooming his son-in-law, Steve Swindal, to take over the team. Meanwhile, the Yankees are trying to cut their payroll by using younger and cheaper players when possible and staking their financial future on a new megastadium.
“The new stadium is going to have all the tradition of the old stadium, with all the modern amenities,” said Randy Levine, the team’s president. “Bleachers will be there. Restaurants will be open. There will be a great hall when you walk into the stadium that can be used for events. The idea is to make this a year-round destination.”
Set for a 2009 debut, the stadium, including building costs and debt payments, will carry a $1 billion price tag. To pay for it, the Yankees will need to generate an additional $50 million to $60 million a year in revenue, according to analysts. Mr. Levine declined to discuss how much money the team expects to earn in its new digs, though he ruled out selling the naming rights to the stadium.
Other baseball executives and analysts, though, question whether the stadium will be as much of a bonanza as the team may hope. The Yankees already sell out most of their current seats and suites, they say, and the new stadium will have several thousand fewer seats. To offset that loss, the Yankees plan to have 60 suites in the new stadium, three times as many as they offer now. If the stadium does not create a financial windfall for the Yankees, it is likely to cast a financial pall over other teams that are making an art out of chasing dollars with the same urgency that they chase titles.
“The Yankees have created tremendous expectations and have created the need to continue spending,” said Henry D. Fetter, the author of “Taking On the Yankees: Winning and Losing in the Business of Baseball.” “The Yankees have created a target for everyone else to aim at and been a stimulus for innovative management.”
This was all six and a half years ago. And, now, the new Yankee Stadium has four years under its belt today. Given the current perspective, what do you think…is the new Yankee Stadium a bonanza for the franchise or not, and, why?