Friday, April 3, 2009

New Yankee Stadium a Symbol of the Professional Sports Bubble

New Yankee Stadium opened up to the public yesterday, and like the gilded theatres of the 1920's, it seems ugly, and distasteful when the boom is over. The New York Post took a critical tour: In tough times a monument to greed.

But this is about more than wrong place, wrong time. The Yankees' sense of entitlement and unrestrained excess is timeless. They will tell you they built this stadium for the everyman, stressing what they consider still affordable pricing and amenities. But this stadium, in actuality, was built for a moneyed class that in many respects does not even exist in this city any longer.

Those $2,625-per-game Legends tickets behind home plate are selling slowly, and that certainly is because there is a whole class of banking/Wall Street/real estate mogul who would have scooped them up but has gone the way of flannel uniforms. But also because those seats not long ago would have screamed status, and now speak only to greed. The working world will not look onto those sitting there with envy. They will wish that those seats came with a dunk tank, not waiter service.

....However, the new Stadium didn't make me think of the place just across the street. It made me think about Vegas or Disney World, since it made me think of a fake place designed to manipulate my emotions and get into my wallet.

Perhaps one good thing to come out of this economy will be bursting the pro sports bubble. I don't care how good of a player A-Rod is, he doesn't deserve $25 million a year to play baseball. Nobody should have to pay over a thousand dollars to bring their kids to a ballgame. It's ridiculous.

Even here in Vancouver, the blue collar and mid level office workers, who care about the Canucks more than anybody else, can't afford to go to the games. Want to take the wife and two kids to a hockey game? It's $55 a pop for upper nosebleeds, behind the goal line. The lower bowl is all corporate types. I've sat down there with corporate tickets, and there's very few true fans. Even with freebies, I ended up spending big money on $8 beers, $10 on pizza.

Hopefully prices and salaries will become more realistic.

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