The Yankees were looking forward to a return home with the relaxing of COVID restrictions on attendance. It’s been anything but a full house.
The Yankees Friday’s game against the AL West division-leading Oakland A’s was the first game with every seat available at Yankee Stadium since Game 5 of the 2019 American League Championship Series against the Astros.
Friday’s paid attendance was 24,037, the Yankees’ largest crowd of the year but about half of building capacity. Saturday’s attendance was 23,985, only 51% of Yankee Stadium’s capacity.
Consider too these figures account for paid attendance, and not the numbers of fans actually in the ballpark.
“That’s what we’ve been waiting for,” Aaron Judge told reporters Friday afternoon before the series opener.
Judge went on to add, “I think especially since 2020, playing in this stadium with no fans. They played the fake crowd noise, but that doesn’t compare, not even close, to what a packed house at Yankee Stadium any night brings.”
Aaron, how do you explain the tepid purchase of tickets this weekend, and is there something going on here among Yankees fans that could develop into a trend this year?
Attendance at today’s game is not official yet, but it appears to be in the 20-25,000 range again on TV.
While the Bleacher Creatures appear to be doing their part, the expensive “blue seats” are typically nearly empty, as these “fans” are more than likely out sailing on their yacht in the Long Island Sound.
With the COVID restrictions in place, the Yankees’ average attendance is 11,000. So, some of the thunder at the Stadium can be heard when you double that – but still, Aaron Judge and more significantly, Hal Steinbrenner has to be disappointed.
Today’s attendance must be especially of concern because, traditionally, Father’s Day is a typical father/son, father/daughter scene at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees: So, what’s up at the House That Ruth Built?
Two things come to mind.
First, the exorbitant cost to attend a Yankee’s game greatly inhibits families. When you add the cost of tickets (an average of $47.62 in 2019), parking ($45-50), a trip to the Yankees’ Store for the kids (add $50-100), plus the concession stands (another $50-100 easy), and there you have it.
It quickly becomes a $500 day for a family of four, a challenge for any middle-class family, even though ticket prices are down from 2015 when the average cost of a ticket was $51.15.
Keep in mind that the ticket price affects only tickets purchased through the advance sales Yankees ticket office. Heaven forbid, you decide on the spur of the moment to go through the Yankee’s legal scalper, Stubhub.
The other factor in play is the Yankees themselves. Besides Aaron Judge and perhaps Gerrit Cole on days he pitches, who on the team is enough to say – “I want to see him play in person”?
A lackluster ho-hum season isn’t helping either, as fans seem to be catching on to the fact this year’s team will be lucky even to make the playoffs as a Wild Card team, much less to fulfill early season predictions they were on their way to the World Series.
Yankees: An Attendance Blip Or A Trend?
Of course, it’s only three games, but it will be interesting to see if the trend down at the Stadium continues.
Of interest too, and this one really can shake the walls in Yankees’ offices, will be to see what happens at Citi Field when the Mets return home to face the Atlanta Braves tomorrow in a doubleheader – especially with Jacob deGrom pitching the first game.
“If you build it, they will come,” Kevin Costner said about the Field of Dreams.
The Yankees and George Steinbrenner built it in 2009 and the fans did come. We’ll see what happens this year as the season moves forward…
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Frank Tedeschi Lots of reasons for the small groups of fans. No advance sale. The poor performance has turned off paying fans. The Yankees and baseball have lost droves of fans with their political stance the last two years which goes against the grain for their fan base. New York City is not going to be as strong a market as it was. During the year of the pandemic looting rioting and mayhem broke out in NYC. People moved out of the city in record numbers and headed for nicer and safer places to live. The last reason Is because of the huge spike in crimes tourists are avoiding NYC and the baseball games. Yankee stadium is like Wrigley field. A destination point. Those people are not coming.
Trevor Carlson Sr Maybe people are realizing That the small fortune you Spend to see a team play can be better used for rent and utilities and stuff
Sonya Mittelman not everyone is fully vax yet, wonder how that will impact
Sepia Prince I was definitely surprised that the stadium wasn’t at least 40k for the Father’s Day game.
Michelle Liscoe As a Bronxite, here are my thoughts, the restrictions were lifted Thursday evening, a few weeks earlier than expected, this weekend was a busy weekend, between 2 playoff games Nets & Islanders, Father’s Day, people like myself simply had other plans, weekends in NY area are busy in general in the summer months, many people have summer rentals and for those who are still working from home probably are at their rentals now instead of just the weekends, not the mention a years worth of postponed wedding receptions that are happening. A weekend Yankee game for me maybe at the end of September.
Ruben Irizarry If you can only get into the stadium if you’re fully vaccinated then that could be an issue, not everybody wants to get vaccinated. Author’s Note: There are separate seating sections for vaccinated and non-vaccinated fans.