09 January 2011
From 2005-2010 as season ticket holders, we were locked into attending (or selling) a specific number of games per season. In April 2005, we signed up for a 46 game plan in the Tier Reserved at Yankee Stadium II (the old B Plan) and were rewarded with a great birds eye view from Section 1, Row M. The main perk was guaranteed seats to every potential playoff game (and a bunch of "premium games" throughout the season), but it was also pretty awesome to call ourselves Yankees season ticket holders.
After the disappointing 2008 season, we navigated our way through the new Yankee Stadium relocation process and nearly got bumped to a 20 game plan (we thoroughly documented this process during the New Stadium Insider days). People who upgraded to full season received priority and it left us on the outside of the guaranteed playoff plans (full season and 41 game plans). We stood our ground, refusing to become de-facto ticket brokers and eventually were "rewarded" with a 41 game plan in Section 428, row 10. Many others weren't so lucky.
2009 was a dream season for Yankees season ticket holders, despite all of the hype about unsold Legends Suites and obstructed views. The new stadium was a grand and exciting structure (we had plenty of issues with the "new house," but we also had a lot of fun exploring every nook and cranny). The team on the field was great - walkoff wins had pies flying around at a record pace and the team pretty much cruised to the 27th championship in franchise history, winning all but one of their home playoff games. They clinched the ALCS and World Series in front of the home fans, A-Rod had "true Yankee" moment after "true Yankee" moment and times were good.
By the beginning of 2010, the shine of the new stadium and the euphoria of the first Yankees championship since 2000 quickly wore off. Our seats in section 428, row 10 offered and awful view of the playing field and they weren't going to get any better. We dealt with it in 2009 because it was a new stadium and because we spent most of our time roaming around, watching the game from the excellent standing room only spots on the field level. But in the 2009 ALDS when Joe Mauer hit his controversial ground rule double that was incorrectly called foul, and when Mark Teixeira hit his game winning home run to left field, we were completely in the dark. There are blind spots in the wings of the far-recessed upper deck at Yankee Stadium III and as the season wore on, we realized that we'd be better off watching the games at home. Back in October, we wrote a whole blog post about it.
You won't find many people who enjoy the raucous atmosphere of a big game at a sports stadium more than we do. For a long time, having season tickets made sense, as it ensured our attendance for those memorable games. Then, in 2008, StubHub and MLB signed a deal that would forever change the way fans accessed tickets to baseball games. With this deal, MLB season ticket holders could buy more tickets than they could afford and then easily list them on StubHub by entering the barcode numbers on their tickets. They wouldn't even have to ship the tickets - everything was done electronically. During 2008, fans still hadn't fully caught on, and StubHub (and the rest of the secondary ticket market) was still generally a seller's market. In 2009, the new stadium guaranteed that most resellers would make a killing hawking their Yankees tickets, especially those with reasonably priced seats. But in 2010, the market shifted in favor of the buyers. Casual Yankees fans caught wind of how easy it was to sell their tickets on StubHub - something that brokers had known for years and savvy fans had caught on to early in 2008. There were simply more tickets on StubHub than there were buyers, and it resulted in some ridiculously low secondary market ticket prices, especially during a brutal stretch of August games that resulted in some of the lowest attendance numbers seen at the new Yankee Stadium.
But what spoke volumes was what happened when it came time for the playoffs. Unfortunately, work and other prior engagements caused us to miss all of the ALDS games and all but one of the ALCS games. Typically, we'd sell the tickets on the secondary market and make back two or three times the face value at the very least. This year, it was a struggle to even get back face value for our crappy seats in section 428, row 10. Between the abundance of listings on the secondary market and the fact that everyone realized how crappy our seats in section 428 were, our once hot commodity had become a liability. With great deals (in better seats) available on the secondary market and tools like FanSnap and SeatGeek to help find great deals, we started running out of ways to justify our season ticket investment.
All of that said, our 41 game plan in the Grandstand Outfield at Yankee Stadium remains relatively inexpensive. At $20 per seat, per game, the cost of half of a season could still be considered an impulse buy, and going into 2011, prices were set to remain the same. Even though the resale value of playoff games had lowered, we still were guaranteed the opportunity to be there for every game and that was enough reason to consider remaining a season ticket holder. And then, we received the letter that our 41 game plan would no longer be guaranteed tickets to every home game of the playoffs and our decision was made - we would no longer be season ticket holders.
The way we see it, we'll be better off taking advantage of the secondary market for the games we want to attend, and it will allow us the flexibility to attend MORE games. NYYSI headquarters is located on the Upper East Side, just 15 minutes away from Yankee Stadium on the 4 train, so we'll be able to attend games on a whim and at the last minute, probably for very cheap. For premium games and playoff games, we'll likely pay over face value, but it will probably be offset by all of the games we get to see for under face value during the regular season. When considering the fact that we will no longer have to waste time and energy dealing with the uncaring Yankees ticket office, the decision became a no-brainer.
Of course, this decision may come back to haunt us. We're not going to sit here and pretend that we're the only people who have had this revelation over the past few years. In fact, in our internet travels, we've come across many fellow season ticket holders who recently made a similar decision to liberate themselves from the burden of Yankees season tickets. Because of this, the secondary ticket market could get hot again, leaving smoking hot deals on Yankees tickets few and far between. But at this point, it is a risk we're willing to take and we've made peace with our decision. Today is the final day to pay our 2011 invoice and we won't be doing it. Our seats in Grandstand Outfield 428, row 10 will be thrown back into the pool to be someone else's burden. StubHub, here we come.
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