The New York Yankees had special guests in their Legends premium seating for Tuesday’s Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. The two fans, Joe Spillo and John Welch, paid a whopping 25 cents each for their tickets that normally Prices for over $1,000. The tickets were in fact purchased at the full face value and resold to the first time premium seat fans.
John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, was the benefactor for the two fans. Tickets were purchased and resold as part of the show’s disagreement over the Yankees’ handling of premium seats.
Oliver roasted Yankees’ COO Lonn Trost on the show’s segment, as Trost made comments that seemed to have been a low blow to casual baseball fans. Referring to a fan that buys a ticket through a secondary market, “…the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.”
The biggest problem with this assessment of casual baseball fans that might possibly enjoy sitting behind home plate is the discrimination of the general fan base. Oliver referred to the Yankees as “elitist assholes”, as the team has banned fans from entering the stadium with tickets printed out from websites such as StubHub.
New York is filled with baseball history, but the Yankees apparently only want high paying customers with the best seats to view that history. Seats behind home plate are some of the most expensive no matter what stadium you are in, and most games play host to a plethora of those premium seats being empty. Part of the reason for empty premium seats at Yankee Stadium is presumably because the fans are in the food concourse eating or somewhere else in the stadium; they choose to purchase the seats merely for access to the premium areas of the ballpark and not necessarily for the seats themselves.
It shouldn’t matter who sits in the seats to watch the actual game. Obviously, teams want fans that actually purchased the tickets to be in those seats, but it shouldn’t matter what fans that consists of as long as they are paying customers. Right? Not according to the New York Yankees. The ban on printed out tickets is a huge blow for the secondary market fans. If Yankee Stadium really does only honor first hand tickets, it severely limits the purchasing options for fans.
If a fan resells a ticket, the price is determined according to the original holder of the ticket. Trost claims that, “…it’s frustrating to the purchaser of the full amount.” However, if the original ticket owner sells it, the transaction should not matter to the Yankees.
Yankees’ president Randy Levine was aware of Oliver’s contest and responded by saying, “Everyone is welcome at Yankee Stadium. And I thank John Oliver for buying Yankees tickets.”
That statement is obviously not true based on the ticket policy regarding printed out tickets. Luckily for the two Ninja Turtles in attendance at the New York home opener, they had legitimate tickets straight from the Yankee box office thanks to Oliver and HBO.
Two more pairs of tickets will be handed out to the final two games of the opening series, so you can expect to see more crazy outfits behind home plate. There may not be any changes to the New York Yankees ticket policy because of the shenanigans, but fans will get to enjoy premium Major League Baseball with minor league antics.