Wednesday, August 27, 2008


P.S.L. The three initials that stand for Personal Seat License. Or should it be Pay up! Sports Loser?

Not content with fleecing the fans to pay the over-inflated salaries of Alex Rodriguez and Brett Favre, New York’s two baseball and two football teams are expecting them to finance their new stadiums too.

Personal seat licenses at the $1.6 billion Jets-Giants stadium, the $1.3 billion Yankee Stadium and the Mets’ $800 million Citi Field will cost anywhere between $1,000 and $25,000.

And, in some cases, ticket prices are more than doubling for the same view (or worse) that you had in the old stadium.

Not surprisingly, it’s a subject that is causing outrage among many season-ticket holders of the Yankees, Mets, Giants and Jets.

The owners were no doubt bracing themselves for a backlash. But they know that once the furor has died down, the fans will do what they always do…pay up.

It’s a simple case of supply and demand. In New York, and some of the bigger cities, demand currently outweighs supply.

The clubs have done their market research. They know just what they can get away with. Which is just about anything.

The three major sports in the United States – baseball, basketball and football – continue to defy the economic downturn. The less disposable income the average man has, the more the teams charge.

But, of course, that’s where sports have changed. Baseball and football are not games played for the average man anymore.

Baseball and football no longer games of the people

America’s favorite pastimes are no longer aimed at the blue-collar worker. They're aimed at the Wall Street stockbroker and corporate hospitality; people who can afford to spend upwards of $20,000 just for the right to sit somewhere near the halfway line or behind home plate.

The clubs will argue that the season-ticket holder has ownership of their seat so they can sell-it on.

What it actually means is that Ticketmaster and StubHub will make an even bigger profit on commission and the chances of purchasing single-game tickets will become more remote.

In any case, the true fans don’t buy their season ticket with the aim of making a profit. They buy it because they want to attend as many games as possible and support their team.

The clubs also claim they are “rewarding” loyalty by giving long-standing season-ticket holders first refusal on purchasing their P.S.L. Thanks a million!

Never mind a season ticket, it’s rapidly getting to the stage where the middle class man in the U.S. (if he still exists) can’t afford to take his family to a one-off game. Well, not if they want a hot dog and soda too. It’s more expensive than the best Broadway show and nearly as dear as a mini break in Barbados.

Believe it or not, there was actually a time when Yankee Stadium wasn’t sold out every night. Heaven help the clubs if there’s ever another strike or wane in popularity.

Who then will pay Alex Rodriguez $27.5 million a year to go 0 for 5 against the Yankees’ arch rivals the Boston Red Sox?

+++ Talking of the Red Sox, Boston manager Terry Francona summed up my feelings entirely when asked whether he had any sentiment about playing his last regular season series at Yankee Stadium. “Not really, the new one is only 100 yards away.”

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