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The Yankees have "resorted to calling former season-ticket holders in order to sell out a potential" ALCS Game 6, according to Dan Martin of the N.Y. POST. Yankees fan Matt Jones "had season tickets for more than a decade before he gave them up when the tickets at the new Stadium became too expensive, but he purchased a single ticket for Game 1 in the Legends Suites section for $500." Yesterday, he "received calls and emails asking if he was interested in buying more tickets for the remaining home games." Jones said, "They got my information from Ticketmaster. There were a ton of empty seats near me at the game, so I guess that’s why they had to do it. The reason I stopped going as often as I used to was because the prices were too high and I guess other people feel the same now." Martin notes attendance for both Game 1 and 2 was "more than 3,000 short of the 50,291 capacity." The Yankees "aren’t alone in their failure to sell out their playoff games." As of last night, Stubhub.com "listed more than 4,000 tickets available" for tonight’s ALCS Game 3 at Comerica Park (N.Y. POST, 10/16). However, in Detroit, Donnelly & Briscoe report Tigers fans "scooped up the last remaining seats" for ALCS Games 3 and 4. With their games "sold out, the Tigers accomplished something the once-fabled Yankees failed to do during the first two games in New York" (DETROIT NEWS, 10/16).
THE HOUSES THAT RUTH DIDN'T BUILD: In N.Y., Daniel Beekman reports plans to "build affordable housing and stores on failed Yankee Stadium parking lots in the Bronx have struck out -- for now." Talks have "stalled and officials are no longer pursuing the partnership." Officials said that Bronx Parking Development's board last year "approved the general parameters of the development scheme and authorized the New York City Economic Development Corporation to negotiate a deal." But EDC spokesperson Kyle Sklerov said that the agency "recently ended negotiations with the two companies for reasons it won't comment on" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/16).
The 18 investors who bought the MLB Giants in ‘92 and privately financed AT&T Park have “succeeded financially by maintaining a season-ticket base around 30,000 and by topping the 3 million mark in attendance in 11 of the ballpark's 13 years,” according to David Leon Moore of USA TODAY. Giants President & CEO Larry Baer said that the team’s “break-even mark is about 3.25 million in attendance.” Regular-season attendance this season was 3,377,374, down from 3,387,303 in ‘11. The team “actually had more revenue" this year with the use of dynamic ticket pricing. Baer said, “When we're over 3 million, we're making a little money -- just a little. But that's OK. Our investors would be the happiest people in the world if we won the World Series and broke even.” Moore notes the Giants “hope to increase revenue from their media deal in future years.” In ‘08, they “signed a 25-year cable broadcast deal with Comcast in which the Giants have a 33% ownership stake” in CSN Bay Area. Additionally, AT&T Park is “now the place to be" in S.F. During Sunday's NLCS Game 1, “the vibe was typically giddy and buzzy, not unlike Baton Rouge, La., or Athens, Ga.," on an SEC football Saturday. The crowd of 42,534, the Giants' 165th consecutive home sellout, “waved orange towels and sang along to songs played on the P.A. system.” (USA TODAY, 10/16).
GET UP, STAND UP: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Jim Carlton noted “some of the most coveted seats" in S.F. for the Cardinals-Giants NLCS are not seats, but are “triple-digit standing room only tickets.” The seated capacity of AT&T Park is 41,915, but the Giants “sell an additional 1,000 postseason tickets for fans allowed into SRO sections.” Including fees, “$100, is the running price on StubHub.” Giants officials said that they hear “few fan complaints about standing room only.” Giants Managing VP/Ticket Sales & Services Russ Stanley said, “It’s actually an interesting way to enjoy the game because you can explore the park and watch the game from many angles” (WSJ.com, 10/15).
The Magic's basketball operations department has “undergone a sweeping transformation over the last few months -- a metamorphosis that extends beyond the hiring" of GM Rob Hennigan, head coach Jacque Vaughn and a new assistant coaching staff, according to Josh Robbins of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The department has “grown from 26 employees last season under former general manager Otis Smith to 33 employees this season under Hennigan.” The new regime includes “two assistant general managers; there was only one assistant general manager before.” The restructured department also “features someone who will focus on salary-cap management and on the minutiae of the collective bargaining agreement,” while another new position is “devoted to developing analytical systems.” It appears that Hennigan has “somewhat modeled the department on those of his two prior organizations” -- the Spurs and Thunder. The new-look basketball operations department is “26 percent larger than it was last season, but there is a hidden irony.” Magic CEO Alex Martins said that the department's “current overall salary -- even with more employees -- is less than it was last season.” Robbins noted it would make “logical sense that their first-year general manager, their first-year head coach and their young assistant-coaching staff are being paid less than their more experienced predecessors were paid.” That cost savings “likely enabled the organization to add more positions” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/14).
The Lynx have now reached the WNBA Finals two straight seasons and the team's "on-court success is nearly matched on the business side," according to Roman Augustoviz of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The Lynx were "second in the league in attendance (averaging 9,683) and first nationally in merchandise sales." However, attendance at Target Center "has been a little soft in this year's playoffs." The team averaged 8,583 for its first three home playoff games, "1,200 fewer than through the first three postseason games last year." Lynx President Chris Wright said that by the end of the team's season-ticket campaign for next season, the Lynx "should have the first- or second-highest ticket base in the league." Merchandise sales at the arena pro shop also "have increased 68 percent" and season-ticket holders are renewing at a rate around 90%. Team officials "expect to start the 2013 season with 3,000 season-ticket holders, "a jump of 500 over this season." The season-ticket base for '11 was "about 1,000." Augustoviz noted one "hurdle for the Lynx is finding a jersey sponsor." For some WNBA teams, "such a sponsorship is worth $1 million" annually. Wright said that the Lynx and companies they have met with "have been unable to agree on terms, but he is patient" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/14).
SPEAKING OUT: The AP's Jon Krawczynski noted that with Lynx F Seimone Augustus' "adopted home state of Minnesota considering a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage," she is "now becoming a vocal proponent of equal rights for gays." Augustus said, "I felt like it was the perfect time for me, being on a platform where I can make a change with my voice and my situation." The Lynx are "looking to become the league's first repeat champions in 10 years." Augustus also is "fresh off a gold medal at the London Olympics, so she's hoping to take advantage of her increased national profile to help influence the vote." Augustus and girlfriend LaTaya Varner "plan to be married in May" (AP, 10/15).
In Boston, Michael Silverman notes the Red Sox "will not raise ticket prices" for next season. Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino in a statement said, "It was abundantly clear this year that we should hold the line on ticket prices." Silverman notes any "hike in ticket price, already the highest on average in the majors, would likely have been met with a revolt in the marketplace." That, in turn, would "make the club's already formidable task of maintaining its sellout streak more challenging." The Red Sox also said that Spring Training ticket prices "will be held at 2012 prices," and that the club will "retain special discounted ticket pricing options for clergy and active members of the armed forces" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/16).
BUYING THE BIRDS: Orioles Communications Dir Greg Bader said that the team's front office "has already received more deposits for season tickets this offseason than it had over the previous several years combined." In Baltimore, Jack Lambert notes one of the "more popular promotions from this year's season might not be back" in '13 though. The Orioles "cut bleacher ticket prices to $4 and left field lower box seats to $8 for the final few weeks of the season." The prices, which were "set to honor the anniversary of the Orioles opening of Camden Yard in 1992, helped the team fill the ballpark at the end of the year." Bader said, "It was to continue the celebration of Camden Yards. We weren't just slashing prices" (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/12 issue).
JUST A MATTER OF TIME: In San Diego, Tod Leonard writes golfer Phil Mickelson is "still on target to have a stake in the ownership of the Padres." Mickelson last night said of his possible relationship with the team, "We'll hopefully have something here shortly to announce." Leonard writes all indications are that Mickelson "is in the final stages of negotiations to come on board with the new ownership." Mickelson: "There are a lot of little variables. It's the timing of everything as it relates to my career, how that will work over time -- how we'll work through that and so forth. All of that stuff plays into the whole relationship. We just want to have a clear understanding" (SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE, 10/16).
THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN: In Cleveland, Joel Hammond notes the Indians' season-ticket base "has decreased steadily since 2008, the year after the team was one game away from the World Series." That year, the Indians had "15,000 full-season equivalents, up 15.3% over 2007, when they had 13,000." But that base "dropped 22% in 2009, to 11,700, and 31% in 2010, to 8,000." Last season, it "dropped to 7,500 and this year is thought to be closer to 6,000." The team was last in MLB attendance "for much of the 2012 season, though it rallied late in the season and finished 29th, averaging 19,797 fans per game." Still, that was "a 13% decrease" (CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS, 10/15 issue).