Empty seats on TV prompt Yankees to cut ticket prices

Due to large blocks of empty seats appearing prominently on TV screens during New York Yankees game broadcasts, the team has cut ticket prices by up to 50 percent for nearly half of the premium seats in their new $1.5 billion ballpark.

The price reduction affected about 40 percent of the new stadium’s best seats. In addition, the team said those who did buy the tickets closest to the field for $325 to $1250 will be eligible for additional free seats to games.

The Yankees considered those empty seats an eyesore on TV broadcasts. The decision to “adjust certain prices and benefits” was a major setback for the team, which had gambled on getting the high prices even during the world economic downturn. Many fans said no, refusing to pay the higher prices.

Most of the cheaper tickets in the second and third decks were sold for the opening six games. However, entire sections of cushioned blue seats with teak armrests in the first nine rows in 25 sections went empty. Most of them cost $500 and up.

The team cut the price of first-row Legends Suite seats in four sections on the outer half of the dugouts and photo cages from $2500 to $1250. Seats in the first row in the final three sections down each foul line were slashed from $1000 to $650. The team said the price reductions will apply to this season only.

Also, many of the non-premium seats between the bases, which cost $325 as part of season tickets and $375 individually, also were unsold. The team announced a buy-three-get-one-free program for the $325 season tickets in the 15 sections between the bases.

The Yankees said they had sold 85 percent of their premium seats and 37,000 full-season equivalents — a total of more than 3.4 million tickets. But it was apparent from game broadcasts that most of the unsold seats were closest to the field.