After spending the majority of three business days doing nothing but trying to resolve my ticket situation for next season in the new Yankee Stadium, I was finally able to get something done, with the help of a friend and a great deal of persistence and luck, but many other fans won’t be as fortunate.
Without going into my specific situation yet, here’s what happened, and here’s where the Yankees made a severe tactical error.
The Yankees were overwhelmed with orders for full-season tickets and 41-game plans, leaving fans who have plans of 41 games or fewer with, for the most part, either very, very undesirable seats or, in the case of the lesser plans, none at all.
On a personal level, I’ve had the equivalent of the 41-game plan since 1997 (it used to be called the B plan, and it was 46 games), and I’ve never been in a position to afford full season tickets, so I hate the fact that fans are being put in such a bad situation. It’s becoming next to impossible for an average fan to get a halfway decent seat to a ballgame.
On a business level, I understand why the Yankees are doing this, as unpopular as it will be. If the team wants to make all 52,000-plus seats in the ballpark full-season tickets, it has the right to do so. But here is where things fouled up badly.
I had no contact with the Yankees from August — when they called to see if I wanted to upgrade to full-season tickets in club seats — until I received my relocation package last Thursday, which offered me seats that were among the absolute worst in the ballpark.
All it would have taken was one simple phone call or e-mail explaining the larger-than-expected demand for full-season tickets and describing the likely seat locations that would result from choosing 41 games or 81 games (the full season), and I’d have done what I ended up doing yesterday, after a great deal of unnecessary stress — finding someone to split full-season tickets with.
My specific situation: After enjoying incredible tickets in the fourth row of the upper deck behind home plate since 1997, I was assigned God-awful seats in the back of the main level, under an overhang (meaning that you lose sight of fly balls and home runs), in fair territory in right field, one section from the bleachers, which cost $12 per game instead of the $50 I would have paid.
It took numerous phone calls, most of which resulted in being told that I either take those seats or have nothing. But I finally got someone helpful enough to look up what was available, and he informed me that seats in the terrace level between first base and the right-field foul pole — which is exactly where I thought I’d end up based on what the person I spoke with in August told me — were available at $40 per game, but only on a full-season basis.
Thankfully, my friend’s brother has been interested for a couple of years in sharing tickets, and he agreed to split full-season tickets with me, because there’s no way in hell I could afford them on my own, even if I hadn’t been out of work since October.
But I would have pulled the trigger on this several weeks ago and likely gotten even better seats had there been any communication from the Yankees informing me of the developing situation.
Is it time-consuming to have to call or e-mail thousands of fans? Sure it is. But what the Yankees have to realize is that while, say, $4,125 (which would have been my original bill) may not even be a fraction of the petty cash in the team’s offices, it’s a great deal of money to the average fan, and we should be offered every opportunity to spend that sum of money wisely.
Sure, the customer buying the Porsche should get the most attention, but the customer buying the Honda shouldn’t be completely ignored. A little more communication could have saved the Yankees a lot of grief, even if they were telling fans things they didn’t want to hear.