The inaugural season at the new Yankee Stadium has barely begun and despite ticket sales being somewhat soft thus far, the New York Yankees are planning to increase ticket prices in 2010 for premium seats by about 4 percent.

According to a report in the New York Times, the average price of a premium ticket for a Yankees game is $510, skewed significantly by the top end price of $2,500 for some behind-home-plate seats. That average price would climb just over $20 next season if the team implements the increase.

The move would appear to fly in the face of the sentiments expressed by team managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner who said he believes that some tickets are overpriced in light of the slowed economy. And, the team has also been criticized in several published reports for having empty seats in plain view throughout the stadium for a couple of its home games.

With half a dozen home games in the books, most of the premium seats have gone empty for all but two of the games, and team President Randy Levine has refused to discuss the seating situation.

One East Coast ticket broker, who said he has sold a few Yankees tickets this season but not many, told TicketNews that while the proposed increase is a little surprising, it’s a shrewd move by the team.

“You have to remember that the goal for the Yankees is to basically be their own broker or StubHub,” where the team controls both the primary and secondary side of ticketing. “So, [by raising premium ticket prices even more] that means they are doing their job,” he said.