SBD/October 15, 2012/Franchises

Yankees Exploring YES Network Ownership Changes; Postseason Ticket-Sales Down

Levine says Yankees are not looking to sell its stake in YES Network
The Yankees are “looking for the right investor to buy out their partners in the YES Network, including Goldman Sachs,” according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Yankees President Randy Levine, Managing General Partner & co-Chair Hal Steinbrenner and Goldman Sachs partner Gerald J. Cardinale last week “met with top Fox executives.” Levine said, “It was not our first meeting with the Fox people. I’ve known them for a long time and we respect their opinions.” News Corp. Deputy COO James Murdoch “is a director of Yankee Global Enterprises L.L.C., the umbrella company for the team, which owns about 34 percent of the YES Network.” Another element of Levine’s talks with Fox “could involve YES carrying some of Fox Sports 1’s programming in the New York market.” Levine said that the team was “not selling its part of YES." Sandomir reported the net is "said to be worth more than $3 billion.” Levine added that the “effort to find purchasers willing to pay the price for the stakes held by Goldman, Providence Equity and some former owners of the Nets might not lead to a sale.” Levine: “We want to keep our options open and see what the marketplace is” (NYTIMES.com, 10/12).

TURNSTILE TROUBLES
: ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell noted the Yankees yesterday morning “still had tickets available and several thousand more were for sale on the secondary market” for ALCS Game 2 against the Tigers. Yankees fans yesterday morning received e-mails "telling them the team was still selling tickets to the game.” Levine said that the characterization of the team's postseason ticket sales "has been inaccurate.” Levine: “We sold more than 49,000 tickets for Wednesday and Thursday and more than 47,000 tickets for Friday and Saturday.” Rovell noted Levine has been a “critic of StubHub." Levine: “As I've said, we have significant issues with StubHub and it has been affecting our attendance in a negative way all year. We expect that to be resolved after the season” (ESPN.com, 10/14). In N.Y., Ken Belson notes despite drawing 47,082 fans at Yankee Stadium yesterday, it was the “third straight playoff home game that the Yankees drew fewer than 47,200 fans, or about 3,000 short of capacity.” Belson cited a Yahoo Sports report as saying that Yankee Stadium ushers were “told to move fans in the upper deck into empty seats below so the unfilled sections would be less noticeable” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/15).

HOME-FIELD DISADVANTAGE
: YAHOO SPORTS’ Jeff Passan notes "every other playoff stadium" was filled to capacity but Yankee Stadium had "entire sections empty, thousands of unsold tickets, even ones as cheap as $15 through resellers.” Tigers LF Quintin Berry said, “This is a very easy place to play now. Coming from Oakland, the fans there were so rowdy. It was easier to come here.” Passan writes, “No matter how the Yankees spin this ... the swiss-cheese crowd is a stunning indictment on their failures to transition the atmosphere of the old stadium to the new one” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/15).
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