The Yankees have experienced a "decrease in attendance the last two years," but the one this season is "more pronounced," according to Zach Schonbrun of the N.Y. TIMES. The Yankees through 41 home games have "drawn nearly 106,000 fewer fans than at this point a year ago, a 6.1 percent drop that is almost twice as large as the overall decline in baseball." In addition, TV ratings "have plummeted" on YES Network through June 25, down 40% to a 2.52 local rating in N.Y. compared to the same point last season, and down from a 4.08, 4.50 and 4.72 in the three previous seasons. Yankees President Randy Levine said that the absence of SS Derek Jeter, 3B Alex Rodriguez and others was "clearly having an impact on the 'television side.'" Yankees fans at recent games "pointed to what they thought were other reasons for the empty seats, most notably the high price of tickets." Levine also cited the "numerous instances of bad weather in April and May, the attendance drop-offs in baseball-strong cities like Boston and Philadelphia, and the Yankees’ decision to spurn StubHub and establish their own online ticket resale operation with Ticketmaster." Levine said that the decision to spurn StubHub was "paying dividends but that the initial adjustment might have hurt attendance." Levine also said of the lack of superstars hurting attendance and TV ratings, "This is the Yankees. We’ve been around a lot of years. There will be more stars” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/2).
SURPRISE PARTY: In N.Y., Feinsand, Madden & Dell note Yankees Exec VP & Chief Int'l Officer Felix Lopez yesterday took part in a press conference in the Dominican Republic to "help make an announcement" about a new privately funded $50M baseball stadium. There was "only one problem: the Yankees didn’t know anything about the project." A source said that "nobody at the Yankees ... had been given any heads-up about Lopez’s trip or his announcement" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/2).