The New York State Assembly is considering a proposed bill that would mandate that at least 7 percent of the tickets for sale for a sporting event be affordable, if the game is played in a facility that received taxpayer money to help build it.
Bill number A00508, sponsored by Democratic Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, calls for “an accounting of all benefits that any state or local authority has granted for the purpose of construction, reconstruction, repair, or rehabilitation of a professional sports facility” so that an affordable ticket price can be determined.
The proposed bill does not specify what constitutes “affordable,” nor does it limit who would be eligible to buy such tickets or where in the stadium those seats should be located.
“Public authorities often provide enormous subsidies for construction, reconstruction, repair, or renovation of sports facilities. The rationale for providing these subsidies is that the facilities thus created and maintained provide a benefit to the general public. While such benefit may take many forms, the basic purpose of these facilities serving as a venue for spectator sporting events-is often out of reach for New Yorkers with modest means. This bill would make affordable tickets a required part of the public benefit we expect when we subsidize these projects,” the proposed bill stated.
But already, the New York Yankees, which are opening a new stadium this season, are opposing the bill, according to published reports.
The new Yankee Stadium will seat about 50,000 fans, roughly 4,000 less than the old stadium, and 7 percent of tickets would represent approximately 3,500 seats.
“If you’re charging too much, people will not come. If we’re not selling enough tickets to pay it back, the responsibility is on us to adjust,” Yankees President Randy Levine was quoted by Bloomberg as telling an assembly committee hearing this week. The team gives away thousands of tickets each season to charity.
The issue of ticket prices for the new stadium has been a source of some controversy for the team. While some bleacher seats still cost $12 each, some premium seats behind home plate sell at face value for $2,500 a piece.
In addition, a plan for government officials to receive luxury boxes at both the Yankees new stadium, and the new Citi Field home of the New York Mets, was also met with anger among many fans and taxpayers.