Soccer Business Bits: Even the Yankees are Hurting?

mlsWe have posted about 2009 MLS attendance struggles on multiple occasions (in fairness, this past week was much improved) without focusing much on other sports.  Multiple media outlets have reported on the challenges facing the New York Yankees in selling premium tickets to their brand new stadium.  While some of these seats sell for as much as $2500 per game,  vast expanses of empty blue behind home plate have definitely changed the Yankees’ way of thinking.  The team has just announced a massive repricing of these premium seats.  In some areas, prices are being slashed by half, while season ticket purchases in other areas entitle the buyer to a large quantity of additional seats free of charge.  These are dramatic steps for MLB’s premier franchise.

The MLS connection?  Don Garber drew the ire of Yankees President Randy Levine when he referenced the seat vacancies while discussing the challenges of selling seats in this marketplace.  Levine fired back and stated that the Yankees outdrew the entire MLS in 2008.  He is correct.  Despite averaging more than 16k in 2008, MLS couldn’t touch the Yankees 50k plus over 81 home dates.

The Yankees are of course not alone.  In the NBA, the Detroit Pistons took the unusual step of e-mailing Cavaliers season ticket holders to offer tickets to the Detroit/Cleveland playoff series in Detroit .  Meanwhile, in the NHL, despite a good year for the League overall, teams like Carolina and others are not selling out playoff games.  Between the economy and now Swine Flu worries, attendance may continue to suffer.  MLS had a nice week at the gate (two dates in Toronto and one in Seattle certainly helped).  Will it continue this week?