In the past few months, the New York Yankees have definitely kept their name at the forefront of the news. The headlines this off-season were the signings of big time free agents C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixiera to contracts that combined to equal nearly a half a billion dollars. The signings were not only aimed to improve the ball club but also to light a fire under the fan base before heading to their new stadium next season.
That new stadium has also found its way into the headlines as well with the exorbitant amounts the team is charging for premium seat tickets and luxury boxes. Now, a little under three months until the stadium to set to open, the Yankees have hired the real estate brokerage Prudential Douglas Elliman to help sell the remaining seats and boxes.
“They have some customers we may not be able to reach, and they can, so we entered into a nonexclusive agreement with them,” Randy Levine, the Yankees’ president told to the New York Times. “They have customers they have sold real estate to, or will in the future, and they can sell our seats in an innovative way.”
Despite hiring an outside source to help sell some of their tickets, the team has said that they have not had issues selling their premium tickets and have only 25 percent of their premium seats still available, as well as only seven out of 59 suites.
The Yankees came under fire when they began selling premium tickets between $250 and $2,500 per seat at the new stadium, the highest in baseball.
“Some people can afford to fly first class and others can’t,” Yankees’ Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost told ABC News last spring when talking about the 1,800 luxury seats that will include free parking and free food. “This is about providing luxury. It is an additional experience.”
One group that didn’t have to pay for that luxury was the City of New York. The administration for Mayor Michael Bloomberg had negotiated for a suite at the new Yankee Stadium, but after coming under scrutiny from other city officials, has decided to give up. According to the New York Times, similar suites have been valued at as much as $600,000.
“This is something that they never should have negotiated in the first place,” Queens’ Representative Anthony Weiner told the newspaper. “And, it was only after the public found out about it that they did the right thing.”
The means in which the stadium was built has also come under fire, when a New York Assembly committee has issued subpoenas to Yankees team president and an official with the city economic development office over the millions of dollars in public funds used in the project. The committee is looking for documents and answers for its investigation into the spending.
According to the Associated Press, both the Yankees and New York Mets have asked the city for more public bonds to finance their costly new stadiums.
(The image accompanying this story is from newyorkyankees.com)