Filed under Baseball, Opinion

Yankees leave StubHub for Ticketmaster: Shouldn’t affect ticket prices

Do you remember seeing countless empty seats at Yankee Stadium last year?  Well, the Yankees sure do.

Now they’re doing something about it.

The New York Yankees have announced, just two months after breaking their formal relationship with StubHub, that they are partnering with Ticketmaster for secondary market ticket sales.

Ticketmaster is already the official secondary ticket reseller of the National Football League.   The two sides created the NFL Ticket Exchange in 2008.

The Yankees and Ticketmaster are expected to create a similar service named Yankees Ticket Exchange, which will become the only means for fans to immediately download tickets without having to pick them up at a physical location.

According to ESPN’s sports business insider Darren Rovell, the Yankees Ticket Exchange will only require ticket resellers to pay a five percent fee, as opposed to the 15 percent fee charged by StubHub.  The buyer’s commission fee – 10 percent of the resale price – will remain the same as that of StubHub.

Ticket resale in secondary markets has become more prevalent in recent years.  As the system has become more efficient and widely-used, fans have learned to use it to their benefit.  Teams like the Yankees have known this all along, and are beginning to act.

It is undecided whether Yankees Ticket Exchange will implement a price floor for tickets.  So, yes, St. John’s students may still be able to buy $2 tickets in April and May.  There might be a higher being after all.

“Right now, we’re experimenting.  We’ll use this year to make a determination,” Yankees COO Lonn Trost told Newsday.  “Certain games may have it, certain games may not.  Certain sections may have it, certain sections may not.”

As long as there is not a significantly high price floor that would prohibit fans from affording tickets, the transfer from StubHub to Ticketmaster does not affect fans greatly.  If it does anything for anyone it will be the Yankees, who will now receive a greater slice of the pie.

Team President Randy Levine publicly attributed the Yankees’ declining attendance to StubHub’s selling of tickets well below face value.  Though the Yankees did draw roughly 3.5 million people to Yankee Stadium in 2012 (second only to the Philadelphia Phillies), the attendance figure has declined each year since 2010.

Declining attendance at Yankees games is more likely about economic conditions and a team who most do not expect to contend for a championship, the lowest level since before 1996.

In addition, attendance is generally down across the board in Major League Baseball.  The cross-town rival Mets sold about 110,000 fewer tickets in 2012, for a team that won only three fewer games. I’m not so convinced that the placement of tickets below face value is your reason, Randy.

“The Yankees Ticket Exchange will be a safe, convenient, reliable, and expedient way to purchase and sell guaranteed authentic Yankees tickets,” Yankees executive Hal Steinbrenner mentioned in a statement.  “It is unfortunate that unscrupulous resellers utilize deceptive practices and tactics and employ unofficial websites, all of which give rise to counterfeit tickets.”

StubHub plans to open a storefront on 161st Street, mere feet from Yankee Stadium, so its customers will be able to pick up physical tickets on game days.  The company has opened similar stores across the country in the vicinities of major sporting venues, including locations blocks from Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan and Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The Los Angeles Angels were the only other team of Major League Baseball’s thirty-two clubs to opt out of their individual deal with StubHub.  All other remaining teams will continue to use the service as its resale partner.

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