The New York Yankees spent well over a billion dollars on their new home ballpark. As it neared Opening Day, the team spoke gloriously about the block of seats behind home plate, with their cushioned padding and teak arm rests. The price tag of anywhere from $500 to $2,500 must not have seemed ridiculously exorbitant.
Guess again. Other than home runs flying out at a record pace, what most people focused upon during the first home stand was the glaring amount of empty seats in full view of TV cameras perched behind the center-field wall, from which almost all live action is televised.
You open a new stadium, the last thing you want is empty seats in full view of anyone watching on television.
This week, after initially resisting the idea, the club slashed prices by up to 50% on more than 40% of front-row seats. Admittedly, $1,250 for a seat is still beyond most people's means, but it's a step in the right direction. The gesture shows a willingness by the team to shun stubbornness and acknowledge an initial error in judgment. Of course, more tickets will likely be sold, as well.
Eventually, the Yankees would likely have done this had the seats remained empty, but public outcry seems to have played a key role in the speed with which the organization acted. At the end of the day, fans need to believe that pro sports teams listen to them, at least on some level. The Bronx Bombers seems to have done so here – and that's sound business.