Friday, April 3, 2009


With the baseball season about to start, I thought I would make some comments on the effect of the recession. One of the questions we all have about the recession is, "Will there be a shift in how people think about spending money?"

Take major league baseball for instance. Back in the 1950's, baseball was commercial, but less commercial. Players work rights were restrained which kept salaries capped, so many of the players lived in local middle class neighborhoods. Families could afford to go to games and it was a very accessible form of entertainment.

Today, Major League Baseball looks very different. Well, this shouldn't be a surprise. Ticket prices have risen to crazy levels. The baseball players union is the strongest union in the US. Do players that make an average of over $2.5 million per year need such a strong union? The number of players making double digit millions per year is staggering. Cities have taken on enormous debt burdens to build new stadiums and line the pockets of players and owners even further. This CNBC article reports that teams have tickets they can't sell.

So maybe the recession will bring back some sanity and common sense regarding the economics of sports. I had Yankee tickets from 1994 thru 2007. The seats became available to me in a struck of good fortune. They were in the first row. In 1994 the price of one ticket for one game was $17. An unbelievable value of $1400 for all 81 home games. Through the '90's the ticket price went up modestly every year. Over the last four years however, it the prices went higher and higher. All of a sudden, in around 2005 they were $100 each, then $150 each in 2007 and then unbelievable they went up $100 in one year to $250 in 2008.

But that wasn't really unbelievable, that was yet to come. For 2009 in the new stadium, the same seat, to watch the same team is $2500 a ticket. Yes that is $2500 for one seat to one game. Apparently, it includes some food. Don't believe it? Go to the Yankee website. Off course, I voted with my feet and exited the tickets a few years. It is no surprise to me that the Yankees still have some of those tickets for sale.

The real question is, will people from the companies that paid $2500 for one ticket for each game for 81 games actually show up in the seats and risk being ridiculed for spending that money while laying people off?

Cheers, Mike


  1. I am hoping I can buy a cheaper seat and give the usher a tip in the 3rd inning to move up and enjoy the good that is something I did with my Father in 90s.

  2. My plan is to buy cheaper seats and tip the usher in the 3rd inning to move down...

    Truthfully, I have the same concern for my New York Ranger tickets as Madison Square Garden starts its renovations. And they, like the Yankees may not even make the play-offs this year.

  3. I'm a Washington Nationals fan and even though my job is safe and the Nationals tickets aren't anywhere near Yankee levels, I've got to vote with my head and not my heart. Looks like I'm hoping for better times in 2010. Until then, I'll enjoy my Nats on TV.

  4. Craig, unfortunately you may find that the younger ushers aren't the same as your Dad's ushers.

    Anon, I think a lot of people will be following your lead.