I went to a Mets game last week, and speaking as a Yankee fan, I have to admit that in the battle of the ballparks, the Mets won. Citi Field is far from perfect, but at least it feels like you’re at a baseball park — unlike the new Yankee Stadium, which bears an uncanny resemblance to a new Marriott with a really garish big-screen TV in the lobby.
What I noticed most, though, was something I’d never seen at a baseball game: The upper deck was packed to the gills, while the acres of hyper-pricey seats down below were half-empty. It’s something you first saw in NBA games over the winter, as penny-pinching fans scurried for the rafters.
The Times piles on
Then the Times piled on, in a front-page article today headlined Is This Seat Taken? In Front Rows of New Ballparks, No:
Instead, the Mets and the Yankees face a public relations nightmare and possibly millions of dollars in lost revenue after failing to sell about 5,000 tickets — including some of the priciest seats — to each of their first few games after last week’s openers.
NLG's Eric McClure comments:
More evidence that the financial premises underlying Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, which were shaky to start with, now bear no relation to reality.
Reality and the Nets
The layoffs of staffers working on sponsorships for the New Jersey Nets apparently reflect the new reality.
There are already many questions related to the planned Brooklyn arena, among them Frank Gehry's role and the cost of construction.
Given the example of the new baseball parks, there's less of an appetite for luxury suites. That would mean a decline in both revenues for the developer and the taxes expected. It also suggests that a new cost-benefit analysis is in order.
Fan anger at subsidies
One comment on the Times's web site:
Wouldn't feel too sorry for the suits in the Bronx and in Flushing. They are living on the public teat and will profit handsomely no matter what. The continued use of public funds (and that includes the outrageous ability to sell tax-exempt bonds) to benefit private interests is never right. May the Nets never see Brooklyn.
P.S. This is not a rant from a sports-hater. Baseball is very important in my life.
— freddyrun, Houston, TX