SBD/Issue 167/Franchises

New Yankee Stadium Still Facing Issues As Season Progresses

Yankees Still Struggling To Find
Ways To Fill Up New Ballpark
With the Yankees in the middle of their third homestand at the new $1.5B Yankee Stadium, the "early issues confronting it -- from disappointing attendance and intimidating ticket prices to home runs that jump on the wind's back and race out of the yard -- seem to be sticking around," according to Joshua Robinson of the N.Y. TIMES. Attendance for Friday's game against the Twins was 43,856, which "fell well under the 52,325-seat capacity and seemed rather low when compared with equivalent games last season." As of Friday afternoon, two tickets "directly behind home plate were available for $1,100 each on FanSnap, well below their face value," and at the game, "large chunks of blue seats remained unoccupied." The only tickets that "seem to be selling online at huge markups are for Sections 201 and 239," as tickets in these sections for Friday's game were "going for no less than 400[%] of face value." But Robinson noted those are the "two sections of bleachers where much of the outfield is obstructed from view and tickets normally sell for $5" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/17).

TIME TO TAKE CHARGE: In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote Yankees co-Chair Hal Steinbrenner, who is running the franchise, "needs to start reminding the people who report to him that they work for him, not the other way around." People are "always going to tell him that things aren't as bad with their fans as the media says they are," which is "just another way the underbosses look out for themselves instead of the Yankees." Sources indicated that Streinbrenner is a "good guy, doing the best he can while getting on-the-job training" and "deciding whom he can trust." But within the Yankees organization there is President Randy Levine "letting everybody know he's the president of the Yankees pretty much every chance he gets," and COO Lonn Trost "taking fire these days for everything that goes wrong at the new Yankee Stadium." Lupica: "Sometimes the war to win the AL East is nothing compared to the turf wars that go on behind the scenes at the new Stadium." One MLB exec, who "thought he'd never miss" Yankees Chair George Steinbrenner, said of the franchise, "There's not one voice." Lupica wrote Yankees fans "shouldn't miss [George Steinbrenner] because they miss the show," but they "should miss him because he would have banged a few heads over the run-out of the new stadium" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/17).

Several Celebrities, Athletes Showing Interest
In Purchasing Some Old Yankee Stadium Items
PIECES OF HISTORY: In N.Y., Angela Montefinise reported former N.Y. Mayor Rudy Giuliani is "planning to grab grass, dirt and seats" from the old Yankee Stadium as part of the ongoing sale of memorabilia from the ballpark. But Steiner Sports CEO Brandon Steiner, whose company is handling the sale, said that Giuliani "isn't the only bold-faced name interested in pinstriped pieces of ballpark history." Montefinise noted actor Richard Gere, Cavaliers F LeBron James, Mavericks G Jason Kidd, talk-show host Maury Povich and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann all are reportedly interested in purchasing ballpark memorabilia (N.Y. POST, 5/17).

PRODUCT PLACEMENT: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Russell Adams notes an "astounding 47 homers were hit in the first 13 games" at the new Yankee Stadium, and "two thirds of those were hit to right field where the names of sponsors like Sharper Image and Toyota are displayed." Sharper Image VP/Licensing Federico de Bellegarde: "We couldn't be happier with our investment" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/18).

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