More than two months into the season, Major League Baseball attendance is up almost across the board. One notable exception is in the Bronx, where the New York Yankees are on pace to endure a decline in ticket sales for the second straight season.
Such a dip might seem like a “man bites dog” moment, considering the Yankees are in the midst of another successful season — they are 15-4 in their last 19 games and opened today, June 13, in first place in the American League East with the best record in the entire AL — and play in a market that certainly loves its baseball.
As far as the Yankees are concerned, though, the explanation is far simpler. The Yankees have long been displeased with StubHub — the official ticket reseller of Major League Baseball — for offering tickets lower than face value and believe their relationship with StubHub is to blame for the lagging ticket sales.
“We believe there are serious issues with the StubHub relationship,” Yankees president Randy Levine told The New York Post in an article for its Tuesday, June 5 edition. “We are actively reviewing more fan-friendly alternatives for next year.”
The Yankees are drawing an average of 41,571 fans through 31 home games this season, down from 45,108 in 81 dates last year. That, in turn, was down from the 46,292 fans the Yankees averaged in 2010, their second season in the new Yankee Stadium and the season following their most recent championship.
According to the Post, the Yankees have also seen a decrease in season ticket sales. A source told the newspaper the drop there to “the mid-30,000 range” matched the drop in overall attendance.
In addition, the Yankees rank second in the AL in average attendance behind the Texas Rangers, the two-time defending AL champions who are drawing an average of 43,292 fans to the Ballpark in Arlington. The Yankees have led the AL in attendance every year since 2003.
The lower attendance at Yankee Stadium has been good news for those seeking a bargain on the resale market. Bloomberg News reported Friday, June 8 — the day the Yankees began hosting the Mets in a three-game “Subway Series” — that the average price for a Yankee Stadium ticket purchased on the resale market, per TiqIQ, was $102, down 46 percent from the 2010 price of $188.
TiqIQ also reported there were plenty of tickets available to the popular Subway Series: Spokesperson Chris Matcovich told Bloomberg tickets priced below $40 were available for all three games as of last Thursday.
Attendance throughout MLB was up about seven percent through last week, according to Bloomberg News. While it is probably too late for the Yankees to experience a similar surge, odds are good their gates will continue increasing throughout the summer and that this year’s attendance numbers will come close to or exceed last year’s figures. The Yankees welcomed crowds of at least 45,000 to 37 of their final 41 home games last season and six of their final eight weekend series this season are either against teams currently over .500 or the archrival Boston Red Sox.