Yanks' home attendance drops in '09
NEW YORK -- The Yankees' home attendance dropped 13 percent in the first year of their new ballpark, partly because of its reduced capacity.
The final regular-season attendance at the new Yankee Stadium was 3.72 million following Wednesday night's 4-3 loss to Kansas City, an average of 45,918 for 81 regular-season home games. That's down from 4.29 million, an average of 52,928, for the final season at the old Yankee Stadium.
New York's streak of four straight seasons with 4 million in home attendance was snapped. While the original Yankee Stadium had a capacity of about 57,000 in its final year, the new ballpark has 50,086 seats and a capacity of 52,325 including standing room, which wasn't sold.
"I think we did very well," Yankees president Randy Levine said. "I think what was very remarkable was our no-show rate was in single digits, which never happened in the old stadium, where it was traditionally in double digits."
While the Yankees had 58 home sellouts in 2008, there were just seven in the first year of the $1.5 billion ballpark: the opener against Cleveland on April 16, and games against the Boston Red Sox from Aug. 6-9 and Sept. 25-26.
Levine said the team sold about 94-95 percent of available seats, and most of the unsold tickets were priced high. Because of a large number of empty seats during the first homestand in April, the Yankees gave free tickets to season subscribers of field level seats, which cost $325, and of Legends Seats, which went for $500-$2,500 as part of season plans.
Even with the attendance drop, revenue was way up: The Yankees' average ticket price jumped from $41.40 last year to a major league-high $72.97 this season, the Team Marketing Report said in April.
Like most teams, the Yankees think the recession caused a cut in attendance, especially among expensive tickets.
"I think it probably would have gone a little better but all in all, we ended up in the zone," Levine said.
New York already has set its season-ticket prices for next year. The $325 seats have been slashed to $250 and $235, and there have been unspecified cuts in the Legends Suite seats. Eighty-four percent of seats will have the same prices as part of season tickets, 13 percent will have a decrease and just 3 percent will have an increase -- in the section just to each side of the premium seats in the second deck.
"I think the economy is still soft and I think we still have to be very diligent," Levine said.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press