SBD/March 29, 2013/Franchises

Yankees Give Away Most Expensive Seats, Back Into Highest Spender Position In MLB

Yankee Stadium Legends seats normally sell for $500 to $1,250 per game
The Yankees are "giving away free tickets for their most expensive seats for the 2013 season," according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN N.Y. An e-mail was sent to Legends Suite licensees Thursday offering "'complimentary' Legends tickets for pre-selected games to multi-year season ticket holders who own those seats," which normally cost $500-1,250 per game. A Yankees spokesperson said that season-ticket holders will "receive two tickets per seat, and they can use them at select games." The Yankees in explaining the decision said that they are "just trying to give their Legends Suite Holders added value." Marchand noted the team has "never extended the offer to Legends Suite season ticket holders before" (ESPNNY.com, 3/28). On Long Island, Jim Baumbach reports the Yankees' streak of 17 straight Opening Day sellouts "will reach 18" when they host the Red Sox Monday. However, Yankees Dir of Communications & Media Relations Jason Zillo said that sales for the "second and third games of the season ... are 'slightly off' pace from last season at this time" (NEWSDAY, 3/29).

YANKEES STILL TOPS IN PAYROLL: The AP's Ronald Blum noted the Yankees are "on track" to have MLB's highest Opening Day payroll for the 15th straight year, climbing above the Dodgers to a projected $228M with this week's acquisition of LF Vernon Wells. For all the talk of "austerity" under Managing General Partner & co-Chair Hal Steinbrenner, the team will "break the record of $209 million it set in 2008 and top the $200 million mark for the sixth straight season." While the Yankees will "pay luxury tax for the 11th consecutive year in 2013, they want to get under the $189 million tax threshold in 2014." Yankees President Randy Levine said, "We've actually increased our payroll this year. As sometimes happens, certain people like to ignore the facts instead of the reality" (AP, 3/28).

STEINBRENNER SPEAKS CONVINCINGLY: In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes Steinbrenner "opened himself up for two radio interviews earlier this week" with Mike Francesa and Michael Kay, which was "unusual." Steinbrenner does not "relish close encounters with microphones, cameras or notebooks." It "wasn't like Steinbrenner sounded thrilled" during the interviews, but he was "convincing, in complete control and kind of likable." This might be the season Steinbrenner is "forced to become a visable mouthpiece for the Yankees," and it could "make tremendous business sense." If the team's success begins "to slide, the Yankees will need a voice fans believe, a credible spokesman who can manage the message." Someone fans "believe is working in their best interests." Steinbrenner must "show he’s running things and executing a plan, especially if ticket sales and TV ratings plummet." The timing of the radio interviews was "important," as fans "needed to be told things ain't as bad as the media is making them out to be." That is "exactly what Steinbrenner did" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/29).
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