I have written several posts criticizing the massive public subsidies for the new Yankee Stadium (see here, here, here, and here). Hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds were expended, more than on any other stadium project in American (and possibly world) history.
In exchange for all this public largesse, you might expect that New York taxpayers would at least get the opportunity to purchase tickets at reasonable prices. Not so much… The prices are so high that many seats are going unsold, creating public relations problems for the team. Even after the franchise cut prices in reaction to anemic sales, the new rates are still extremely high. For example,, seats near home plate still cost $1250 each after a 50% price cut. For New Yorkers looking for really high-end seats, it would be much cheaper to fly to see the Yankees play in Seattle [HT: Tyler Cowen]:
Ticket prices at the new Yankee Stadium are so high that if a New Yorker wants to watch a Mariners/Yankees game from the best seats, it would be a lot cheaper to fly to Seattle, stay in a nice hotel, eat fancy dinners, and see two games.
Option 1: Two tickets to Tuesday night, June 30, Mariners at Yanks, cost for just thetickets, $5,000.
Option 2: Two round-trip airline tickets to Seattle, Friday, Aug. 14, return Sunday the 16th, rental car for three days, two-night double occupancy stay in four-star hotel, two top tickets to both the Saturday and Sunday Yanks-Mariners games, two best-restaurant-in-town dinners for two. Total cost, $2,800. Plus-frequent flyer miles.
Normally, I wouldn’t have any comment on the pricing policies of a private business. If a firm charges ridiculously high prices, they will be punished by the market and consumers will go elsewhere. People who don’t like the price don’t have to buy the product. In this case, however, the Yankees’ insistence on extraordinarily high prices further cuts into the taxpayers’ ability to get even a slight return on their investment. Government subsidization of sports stadiums almost always inflicts more economic harm on the public than it creates benefits. Charging exorbitant ticket prices adds insult to injury. Moreover, it’s possible that the taxpayers will end up covering part of the Yankees’ revenue shortfall, since the team has a consistent record of asking for (and getting) additional government subsidies each time the new stadium project ran into trouble.