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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Yankees oblivious to boycott; attendance already 1.5 million.

How impervious are teams like the Yankees? They get money from local TV deals and share that from national deals. Small market teams get money from big market teams and their big market fans. If player payrolls were suddenly ten percent of what they are now, ticket prices would remain the same and that much more money would go to owners. Owners charge as much as the market will provide.


That's Yankee home attendance (total and average) through July 7. The Yankees are 42-44. Their Pythag is 39-47. They have played 41 of 81 regular season home games; 23-18 at home.

Their home attendance is number 8 of 30, between the Cubs and Mets. Attendance per game: Yanks are number 6. Cubs 4, Mets 9, Red Sox 8.

So while attendance is down from last year the Yankees are doing pretty well.


That's the title of a new book by Mike DeLucia. I met Mike recently. Obviously, there is no actual boycott taking place, nor is it likely.

The average price of a Yankee ticket is very high but if you remove from the equation the ridiculously expensive seats near the dugouts, then the average prices for the remaining seats are somewhat more reasonable.

For me the problem is the competence of ownership and management. I don't think the Yankees will win another championship with this ownership.

For perspective, let's look at a legendary Yankee season from the distant past but well into the modern era: 1961 when Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle had their famous home run race trying to break the season record of 60 set by Babe Ruth of the 1927 Yankees.

The golden era of New York baseball for this Yankee fan was 1958-1961 when New York had only one team. The Dodgers and Giants had moved to California and the Mets did not yet exist. The American League expanded in 1961, increasing the number of games 5% from 154 to 162, which obviously assisted top players hitting against somewhat diluted pitching.

So, how did the Yankees draw in 1961?


Yeah, little more than the 2016 Yankees have for half of a mediocre season with no pizzazz like a home run race. In both total attendance and per game only the Los Angeles Dodgers (89-65, second to Reds) drew better than the 1961 world champion Yankees (109-53):

The 1961 Yankees played many doubleheaders, the kind where fans saw two games for the price of one. Even the huge 74,000 plus attendance for the July 4 doubleheader against first place Detroit only averaged 37,000 per game.

Baseball was much more popular in 1961 but many more people attend games in 2016. There are more people in the USA now but the New York metropolitan area in 1961 had millions enough to draw a lot more. From 1946 through 1950 with three teams in New York the Yankee attendance topped 2 million each year. But in 1961 the Yankees only drew 1.7 million, which was their most since 1951, Mantle's rookie season.

A boycott does not seem to be in the cards. Some other dynamic is needed to jolt the baseball establishment into radical change but that's not likely to happen until it's too late to save the once great game, the national pastime, that's past its time.

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