19 Dec 2012
There is no team in sports more connected with the concept of the free market than the Yankees. When free agency launched in baseball, the Yankees jumped in with both feet. Through the years they have vigorously fought attempts to reign in their spending. Yet now they are going to try and stop fans from being able to benefit from that very market.
The Yankees don’t like Stub Hub and they don’t like MLB’s deal with Stub Hub. For the past few years, if you had a ticket account with a MLB team you could list your tickets on Stub Hub directly and buyers of those tickets could download them directly. It’s worked pretty well for buyers and sellers. If you have a season ticket package and can’t attend some games, there is an easy way to sell them. If you want to go to a game, you have choices besides the box office.
And that’s the problem. Fans have realized that instead of submitting to the Yankees’ pricing choices and fees, they can go to Stub Hub and see if they can get a better deal. The problem for the Yankees is that they have already sold these tickets and therefore don’t earn any money from these sales while their remaining inventory goes unsold.
So, the Yankees are going to opt out of the new Stub Hub deal and try and come up with a new one with Ticketmaster. I can pretty much guarantee that part of that deal will be some sort of cut for the Yankees on every ticket resold in their system. But, the problem for the Yankees will be that they can’t stop fans from still listing their tickets on Stub Hub anyway. For a team that has embraced and benefited from the free market, this is a silly way to operate.
And here’s the part that makes me really mad. The Yankees make oodles of money already. If they want more “butts in the seats” why don’t they lower prices? When the payroll shrinks in 2014 and the club saves $50 million where will that money go? Into the pockets of ownership of course. That’s fine, it’s their right to make as much money as they can, but do they have to try and squeeze their customers at every corner in order to do so?