Yankees play to empty seats, slash ticket prices

The new $1.5 billion New York Yankees stadium is off to a rocky start. With 26 home runs in the first six games of the season, the stadium set a new Major League record -- and the majority of those bombs were launched by players who weren't wearing pinstripes. Physics experts are trying to figure out what the heck is wrong with the stadium.

Now the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports that the Yankees are slashing prices on the high-end seats that were embarrassingly empty during the team's first home game. According to the Journal, "The Yankees cut season-ticket prices on some of their premium seats by as much as 50% -- to $1,250 from $2,500 for some seats and to $650 from $1,000 on others. Customers who purchased such season tickets will receive their choice of a refund or a credit."

That's far more troubling news than the fact that Yankee Stadium is playing like a Little League field. The Yankees invested nearly half a billion dollars in pricey free agents over the off-season: pitchers C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett along with slugger Mark Teixera. It's too early to draw any definitive conclusions, but so far the Yankees have only won one more game than they've lost and are three games back in the highly-competitive American League East division. To be sure, they didn't spend half a billion dollars on free agents to linger in third place while playing to empty luxury seats.

The economy's undoubtedly a significant factor, but a 50% drop in prices for some seats is indicative of deeper problems. An economic turnaround with a turnaround on the playing field won't bail out the Steinbrenner's.
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