Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Who Needs Two? Easy Financing Available!

I looked at Ed Sherman's blog in Chicago Crain's Business and saw that the Yankees are selling front row tickets to a game against Oakland for just under $2,700... EACH.

I love baseball. I L-O-V-E baseball. But there is absolutely no way in hell that I would EVER purchase seats that cost $2,700 EACH.

Maybe when the Cubs are playing Game 7 of the World Series at Wrigley and my ticket plan has screwed me out of having tickets for that game. Then, and only then, would I start contemplating the idea of purchasing a seat for that price. That's when I start selling anything of value that I own in order to finance getting me into that ballpark.

In any other situation, I would assume that my $2,700 guaranteed me an at-bat in the game, or a chance to pitch. Perhaps, it includes a night on the town picking up women with Derek Jeter. Maybe the chair is made of gold and you get to take it home with you after the game as a memento.

Sherman does make the point that this ticket price level is not being aimed at the blue-collar Yankee fan families. They are being made available to the corporations who want to impress business clients. Lets face it, no one actually NEEDS to sit in the front row of a baseball game. I actually prefer my vantage point from up in Aisle 424 to any other seat in Wrigley for watching the game.

But those seats are not for watching the game. Much as a Rolex is not purchased so you know what time it is. You don't buy a Ferrari so you can have something to drive to the grocery store. These are items that are intended for showing off - and that comes at a heavy price.

It will be interesting to see how these new stadiums (the Mets' new facility is similarly structured to cater to the luxury-seeking fans) will succeed in actually selling the mega-priced seats.

Earlier this month, waxpaperbeercup hypothesized that scalpers might have a harder time selling the mega-priced seats already.

Today, I talked with a friend whose company had given up their seats for the Cubs games this year, and I wondered how many others have done the same. The Cubs claim that they had a 98% retention rate, but season ticket holders need to tell the Cubs they are renewing by the end of November.

At that point, the economy was bad, but the Dow was bouncing around in the mid-8,000s as opposed to the recent dip down into the 6,000s. The national unemployment rate in Q3 for 2008 was at 6.0, it now stands at 8.1 and rising.

This is not the time for anyone - corporate or otherwise, to be shelling out $2,700 for a single game ticket. Even if you can afford it, you are basically flipping the bird to all the hard-working fans that had to save for a month to be able to afford to take their son to a ballgame.

While there are plenty of douchebags out there who have absolutely no problem with flaunting their money in a time of economic crisis, the number of potential buyers has to be reduced overall.

I'm curious what the atmosphere at the ballpark will be this year. Will there be a lack of families? Will the college fratboys be able to afford the secondary market prices for the bleachers? Will beer sales be up or down? Beer sales in Q4 of 2008 were down 9.3%, but that is a historical anomaly as shown here. So how many drunkards will there be?

So many previous factors in driving the ridiculous demand for Cubs tickets have changed in the short time from the last out of 2008. I've complained before about the Cubs' lack of any customer service savvy before, but this year they should probably watch a self-help video or something because people aren't going to be as forgiving of a rude security guard, a clueless usher, or a mind-numbingly slow concession vendor when they are spending money they no longer take for granted.

I'm not sure what the Yankee's will have to do to justify the $2,700 seats for their customers. I mean, I can guess, but its usually the kind of services you associate with Craigslist.


Anonymous said...

Am I the friend? Did I get a mention on your blog? OMG I'm famous!

Unknown said...

Well said. I have been predicting a significant decline in over all ticket sales and certainly the secondary market in all Cubs games except weekend summer games and those vs. the White Sox.

Interesting fodder for a post I think...

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