MLB officially re-upped their agreement with StubHub yesterday, and to exactly no one’s surprise the Yankees joined the Angels and the Cubs in opting out of the agreement. Instead, they’ll be using Ticketmaster as their official re-seller in a move that the team called “fan friendly,” which caused George Orwell to rise out of his grave in admiration.
Let’s be clear: there’s nothing fan friendly about this decision, and there’s not supposed to be. The Yankees have had StubHub in their sights for some time now, specifically because of the brand’s association with cheap tickets. The Yankees blamed this for their sparse and stoic crowds, but that’s ridiculous. As a basic matter of fact, lower ticket prices means higher demand for tickets, so if StubHub were really having that big of an impact it should be creating higher numbers at the turnstile, not lower. The “problem,” such as it were, is that the common fans awareness of StubHub as a destination for below face value tickets for non-premium games meant fewer people going to the Yankees and paying face value for those tickets, and apparently was leading some season ticket holders to wonder if they were being played for fools.
Making this decision even more appalling is the fact that StubHub made some major concessions to MLB in order to renew the deal, setting a minimum ticket price of $6 and increasing the blackout period to buying tickets to six hours before the start of a game.
So here’s the basics in terms of what this means: the upshot is that the Yankees will get a bigger cut of each ticket sold through Ticketmaster than they did through StubHub, and that fans looking for last minute tickets to a game will be forced to purchase them for face value from the team, instead of getting the actual market price through StubHub. The downside is that it’s going to get much more expensive, perhaps prohibitively so, for the prototypical average fan to get tickets to Yankee Stadium.
But at least all of that additional ticket revenue will get re-invested in the team.