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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

NYT: StubHub Barred Near Yankee Stadium, for Now

Maybe they lied about the buildings dimensions…

The Yankees won a court order Tuesday temporarily preventing StubHub from opening a store near Yankee Stadium that is designed to allow customers to pick up their tickets before games.

The decision came days before StubHub was set to open the store on East 161st Street on Friday. The Yankees argued that the store was within 1,500 feet of the stadium, violating a New York State law that bans tickets from being resold that close to a venue.

Lizbeth Gonzalez, a judge in the State Supreme Court in the Bronx who issued the temporary restraining order, disagreed with StubHub’s claim that because they are a Web site, their storefront near the stadium was exempt from the law.

“They are setting up their own resale business and that would affect our direct sales,” said Jonathan Schiller, a lawyer representing the Yankees. “We’re not talking about Brooklyn or Broadway, we’re talking about across the street from Yankee Stadium.”

The two sides will meet in court Monday to argue the Yankees request for an injunction preventing StubHub from having a store that close to the stadium.

Repoz Posted: March 19, 2013 at 10:53 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, yankees

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   1. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:55 AM (#4392201)
“They are setting up their own resale business and that would affect our direct sales,”


Summary of Yanks' real complaint: The truth hurts. I'm sure they'd be seeking an injunction, ho ho, if those StubHub tickets were all selling at more than face value.
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:34 AM (#4392212)
I'm sure they'd be seeking an injunction, ho ho, if those StubHub tickets were all selling at more than face value.

They might if they weren't getting a sufficient share of the mark-up. Seems like the problem here is the New York State law - the Yankees are just seeking its enforcement.

   3. Benji Posted: March 20, 2013 at 06:22 AM (#4392223)
If StubHub was really a ripoff or a pyramid scheme they could get a prominent office at Citifield.
   4. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2013 at 07:43 AM (#4392229)
“They are setting up their own resale business and that would affect our direct sales,”


I'm sure they'd be seeking an injunction, ho ho, if those StubHub tickets were all selling at more than face value.

They might if they weren't getting a sufficient share of the mark-up. Seems like the problem here is the New York State law - the Yankees are just seeking its enforcement.


But the Yankees' percentage of the mark-up doesn't have anything to do with their "direct sales." What hurts their direct sales is the fact that so many Yankee tickets on StubHub are now marked down, rather than up, a phenomenon that's likely to accelerate if the team is as non-competitive as it threatens to be at this point. To have StubHub setting up a storefront in the shadow of the Stadium that's an ongoing reminder that Yankee tickets are overpriced is something that's bound to become an ongoing embarrassment as the team slowly sinks in the standings. OTOH if the great majority of tickets were actually being marked up, it would act as a spur for fans to buy their "bargain" list price tickets directly from the Yankees.

   5. Fat Al Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:10 AM (#4392265)
But the Yankees' percentage of the mark-up doesn't have anything to do with their "direct sales." What hurts their direct sales is the fact that so many Yankee tickets on StubHub are now marked down, rather than up, a phenomenon that's likely to accelerate if the team is as non-competitive as it threatens to be at this point. To have StubHub setting up a storefront in the shadow of the Stadium that's an ongoing reminder that Yankee tickets are overpriced is something that's bound to become an ongoing embarrassment as the team slowly sinks in the standings. OTOH if the great majority of tickets were actually being marked up, it would act as a spur for fans to buy their "bargain" list price tickets directly from the Yankees.


The great irony is that the projected decline of the Yankees this year, together with the fact that their season tickets are sickly overpriced, is actually likely to cause market prices to RISE this year. Because there are fewer season tickets out there, there are going to be fewer secondary-market tickets, leaving those who are looking for individual game tickets to be driven toward the (overpriced) primary market where there will be lots of tickets available at full price. My guess is that the Yankees will misinterpret that likely result as a victory, because they will see fewer tickets sold cheaply on StubHub, and will see that the team is actually selling more individual game (non-season/package) tickets directly. Of course, what's really happening is that the pie is getting smaller, nobody will be buying season tickets, overall attendance will probably decline, and some fans who might have been able to afford tickets marked down on the secondary market will simply be unable or unwilling to pay full price. Everybody loses, but the Yanks will claim, and might even believe, that they've won.
   6. BDC Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:15 AM (#4392267)
Practical question: if I want to go to a game later this year at the Stadium, can I buy from StubHub? or are the Yankees going to go so far as to invalidate tickets resold via StubHub?
   7. Fat Al Posted: March 20, 2013 at 09:24 AM (#4392274)
Practical question: if I want to go to a game later this year at the Stadium, can I buy from StubHub? or are the Yankees going to go so far as to invalidate tickets resold via StubHub?


They can't. New York law now permits resales. The difference with StubHub tickets is that they will probably end up being scans of the original pdf tickets instead of reissued official tickets that come with a new unique barcode (with the original barcodes having been cancelled) that you would get if you bought through the official Ticketmaster exchange. So the theoretical risk is that the StubHub seller uses another copy of the ticket or sells it twice. Of course, StubHub's guarantee policy and the fact that they take credit cards from sellers should minimize, if not eliminate, that risk.

The NY law is why the Yanks are focused on the 1500 foot rule, which is basically the only remaining restriction on reselling in NY.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM (#4392317)
I wonder if the in-stadium vendors are happy that the Yankees are doing this. Without the full stub-hub option, aren't more people going to simply eat their unwanted tickets, resulting in fewer people at the park?
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4392320)
I'm sure they'd be seeking an injunction, ho ho, if those StubHub tickets were all selling at more than face value.


Some quotes from Levine (I think) were really obnoxious where he claimed the Yankees were against stubhub all of a sudden because they were looking out for fans' interest and because the markets were supposedly being manipulated to make prices low. I don't remember hearing a peep whenever markets were manipulated to make prices high.

BTW, for this season stubhub has set up some policies that will eliminate the real dirt cheap tickets. There is a new fee, and a minimum price (at least for Red Sox tickets).
   10. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4392326)
Fat Al (#5),

I see what you're saying, but I doubt your scenario would have much effect on anything but a few games against the Mets or the Red Sox. And even there, if the Yankees are floundering near the bottom of the division at the time of the game, those dumped corporate tickets aren't likely to fetch more than face value. The cachet surrounding the Yankees is totally associated with the expectation of winning, and no winning = no cachet.

The only way I can see the market prices rising is if the Yanks somehow defied all expectations, and actually remained in contention for the better part of the season. In that case, then yes, the prices might well go up on StubHub for some of the premium games. I wouldn't bet on it.
   11. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:27 AM (#4392327)
BTW, for this season stubhub has set up some policies that will eliminate the real dirt cheap tickets. There is a new fee, and a minimum price (at least for Red Sox tickets).

Could you elaborate on that?
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:29 AM (#4392329)
Could you elaborate on that?


from stubhub:

MLB transfer fee and minimum list price
For all 2013 home games for MLB integrated teams, there will be an MLB transfer fee of $1.50 per ticket, which will only apply if your tickets sell. In the sell flow, you'll see the MLB transfer fee as a separate line item. For example, if you list a ticket for $50.00, the first $1.50 will go to the MLB transfer fee and your payout will be $41.23, which is 85% of the remaining $48.50.

There will also be a minimum list price for all 2013 Boston Red Sox games of $3.00 per ticket, which is inclusive of the $1.50 MLB transfer fee.
Product and technology updates

What the buyer sees is what the buyer pays: Typically on StubHub, once a buyer selects the tickets they want to buy, the buyer is assessed an additional 10% fee right before they purchase their tickets. However, for 2013 MLB games, we're changing the way we show ticket prices on our site and will include the buyer service fee in the ticket price for all 2013 MLB games. It's important to note that including the buyer service fee in the ticket cost will impact the price of your tickets the buyer sees on the event page, but it won't alter your payout.
Buyer ticket delivery: We're also changing the delivery fee buyers pay to collect their tickets for home games for MLB integrated teams. The delivery fee will now be $2.00 per ticket for all 2013 home games for MLB integrated teams, in place of the previous delivery charge assessed at checkout. Like the service fee, the delivery fee will be included in the ticket price on the event page.

Here's an example of how it will work:
If a seller sets a per ticket cost of $50.00, that listing will show on the event page for $57.00, which includes the ticket cost ($50), buyer service fee ($5) and buyer delivery fee ($2). It's important to keep this in mind when pricing your tickets and looking for them on the event page.
   13. Fat Al Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4392333)
I don't know what StubHub has done for the Sox, but on Yankees tickets they are mirroring the all-inclusive price that the Yankees are using on the Ticketmaster exchange (IOW, the price you agree to pay subsumes all fees and shipping, no additions at checkout). I assume that's so it's easier for people to compare apples-to-apples. FWIW, there are 6,500 Opening Day tickets currently on StubHub, 2,500 on the Ticketmaster exchange.

edit: or, what Nate said
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4392336)
There will also be a minimum list price for all 2013 Boston Red Sox games of $3.00 per ticket, which is inclusive of the $1.50 MLB transfer fee.
So that's basically a "we'll stop embarrassing you" rule to prevent three-penny tickets? It doesn't really serve any purpose beyond that, does it?
   15. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:38 AM (#4392338)
Thanks, Nate. I will say that that $3.00 minimum for Red Sox tickets wouldn't strike me as much of a deterrent. The bottom line remains that unless the Yankees can roll back the clock about 3 or 4 years, there are going to be a lot of bargains to be had on the resale market.
   16. Fat Al Posted: March 20, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4392354)
I see what you're saying, but I doubt your scenario would have much effect on anything but a few games against the Mets or the Red Sox. And even there, if the Yankees are floundering near the bottom of the division at the time of the game, those dumped corporate tickets aren't likely to fetch more than face value. The cachet surrounding the Yankees is totally associated with the expectation of winning, and no winning = no cachet.


My point was more that there will be many seats that will just go unsold rather than being bought and then resold at below face. So for example, I used to have season tickets in the Jim Beam Suite section. To use round numbers, let's say they were 100 face. Having already sunk my dollars into them, but being unable or unwilling to go see the Yanks play Baltimore on a Tuesday night in April, I might be willing to take 50 bucks just to recoup some of my costs and so they don't go to waste.

Now I don't buy season tickets because they were overpriced and locked me into something without me really getting any value in return. So those tickets never make it onto the secondary market. So if you would have bought those tickets at 50 bucks and put your fanny in that seat, you still could get the seat, but it would cost you full face at the box office. So you won't pay 100, and you'll stay home. The seat is empty, you don't get to see the game, the Yankees don't get anything, but they get to claim victory by having "prevented" the resale of something they never sold in the first place. The only winner there is me, who finally wised-up and realized that purchasing a full season was idiotic and basically tossing money to the wind. I will bet that their season ticket sales are half of what they were in year one of NYS. If that.
   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4392365)
Fat Al,

Again I see the logic of what you're saying. I just wonder if the corporate season ticket renewal rate will drop so much this year as to bring the supply of available tickets on the secondary market below the game day demand. I doubt that it will, but I admit I don't know the current figure for those season ticket renewals.

And as a side note, congrats for seeing the light about your own season tickets. I doubt if you'll ever have to pay over face value for more than a handful of the games that you wind up wanting to go to.
   18. Fat Al Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:18 AM (#4392389)
And as a side note, congrats for seeing the light about your own season tickets. I doubt if you'll ever have to pay over face value for more than a handful of the games that you wind up wanting to go to.


Thanks. And beyond the dollars, what I've really come to value is the flexibility. I can pay attention to pitching rotations and weather, not to mention how many tickets I actually want, right up until the last minute and still get solid value (by Yankees standards of course).
   19. Nasty Nate Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4392397)
I think it's possible that both supply (on re-sale market) and demand will go down. The team will be worse, probably, but there will be fewer season tickets and advance ticket sales.
   20. Dave Spiwak Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:32 AM (#4392402)
Don't know the details but I'd like to thank StubHub for allowing me to pick up a pair of low-price tix to the WBC last night. Great night out for me and my 4-year-old son. Nice field level seats -- under the club level and out of the rain -- for 15 bucks.
   21. Dave Spiwak Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4392416)
DOUBLE POST
   22. BDC Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4392421)
Thanks, Fat Al, for #7! I feel more confident in StubHub, which I've gotten used to using.
   23. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2013 at 11:52 AM (#4392426)
As a micro-postscript to what Al has been saying, my business partner just e-mailed me that an NY business friend of his told him that all six Yankee season ticket holder clients of his have cancelled their season tickets. He also enclosed a link for "Mastercard $5 tickets" for April and May games against the Diamondbacks, Astros and Mariners. Somewhere Up There the ghost of Red Barber is smiling.
   24. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4392433)
And beyond the dollars, what I've really come to value is the flexibility. I can pay attention to pitching rotations and weather, not to mention how many tickets I actually want, right up until the last minute and still get solid value (by Yankees standards of course).

In the many times I've preached about how "live" fans** had it much better in the 50's through the 80's than they do today, this is exactly what I was talking about. Much as I hate to see the Yanks go down the tube for what I hope is only a year or two, the emergence of an organized secondary market for tickets is one bright side to an otherwise grim picture. Take away those "business expense" tax deductions, and nearly all of the rest of that artificially pumped up season ticket "demand" would likely vanish overnight, and bring the list prices down to a more realistic level.

**As opposed to the choices and values offered to current TV and web fans, who have never had it better.
   25. DKDC Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4392517)
I try to avoid buying any product directly from the Yankees.

I used to buy tickets from scalpers outside the stadium, but I got stopped by a plainsclothes police officer when the new ballpark opened. That caused me to switch to stubhub, so I started picking up tickets at their office exactly 1501 feet up the street in the Bronx. Then they were the official partner for a while so i just used stubhub and printed them out (and I suspect on multiple occasions I was actually buying the tickets from the Yankees through stubhub).

With the Yankees blaming stubhub for their poor attendance and severing that relationship, will I have to schlep it to some random corner in the Bronx again?

At least I don't pay NYC taxes anymore, so I'm paying a lot less for Hal's awful stadium and police resources to enforce a silly law.
   26. Nasty Nate Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4392533)
With the Yankees blaming stubhub for their poor attendance and severing that relationship, will I have to schlep it to some random corner in the Bronx again?


You could try craigslist? It's not as convenient, but there isn't a third-party siphoning off service fees.
   27. DKDC Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:14 PM (#4392541)
I don't mind the fees so much, I'm willing to pay them for convienece. My worry is that stubhub wouldn't let you print tickets any more, but now that I actually read some other posts, it looks like it will be business as usual.
   28. BDC Posted: March 20, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4392547)
With the Yankees blaming stubhub for their poor attendance and severing that relationship, will I have to schlep it to some random corner in the Bronx again?

You could always start going to Mets games instead.
   29. Fat Al Posted: March 21, 2013 at 08:26 AM (#4393369)
You could always start going to Mets games instead.


Now with convenient Amway location!
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: March 21, 2013 at 08:55 AM (#4393382)
My worry is that stubhub wouldn't let you print tickets any more, but now that I actually read some other posts, it looks like it will be business as usual.


No, I don't think you will be able to print tickets from stubhub for yankee games; that's why they need the physical place near YS.
   31. Fat Al Posted: March 21, 2013 at 09:06 AM (#4393387)
No, I don't think you will be able to print tickets from stubhub for yankee games; that's why they need the physical place near YS.


That's not correct. For tickets labeled as "electronic" on StubHub, you will still be able to download and print by yourself. The storefront is to make it possible for people to buy tickets on the fly and then print them out near the stadium (and, to be fair, if the storefront is allowed to remain it is a way to circumvent the 1500-foot rule because you could stand there, purchase the tickets on your phone or tablet and then immediately print them out there). People also have comfort seeing a brick-and-mortar location with actual customer service personnel when they are buying on the secondary market in case there are any issues with the tickets.
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: March 21, 2013 at 09:42 AM (#4393405)
That's not correct. For tickets labeled as "electronic" on StubHub, you will still be able to download and print by yourself.


Thanks. I guess I'm confused as to how the Yankees severed their relationship with Stubhub if they are still accepting their printouts at the turnstiles?
   33. Knock on any Iorg Posted: March 21, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4393431)
For all 2013 home games for MLB integrated teams, there will be an MLB transfer fee of $1.50 per ticket...

I wonder what the fee will be for those teams who still don't let darkies play?
   34. Fat Al Posted: March 21, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4393432)
Thanks. I guess I'm confused as to how the Yankees severed their relationship with Stubhub if they are still accepting their printouts at the turnstiles?


They aren't "StubHub" printouts per se, they are electronic tickets in pdf form that the sellers have uploaded to StubHub.

The difference is why the Yankees "Official" Ticketmaster exchange site makes the following statements:

When you buy tickets for Yankees games from the Yankees Ticket Exchange:

The ticket is validated by Ticketmaster's exclusive barcode verification technology.
The original ticket's barcode is cancelled.
A new, unique ticket is reissued with your name on it.
Your ticket is delivered electronically.
You're on your way to a great event experience!


The canceling and reissuing is what StubHub no longer can do.
   35. Nasty Nate Posted: March 21, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4393434)
Thanks. So does that mean that if you buy a physical ticket from the Yankees (i.e. not one e-mailed to you), you can't sell that as 'electronic' at Stubhub?
   36. Fat Al Posted: March 21, 2013 at 10:27 AM (#4393438)
Thanks. So does that mean that if you buy a physical ticket from the Yankees (i.e. not one e-mailed to you), you can't sell that as 'electronic' at Stubhub?


I don't think so. Season ticket holders have the ability to go online and download electronic versions of their physical tickets but I don't know that if you've bought individual tickets in-person or have had them physically mailed to you that there's a way to convert them to electronic form (I assume the Yankees won't let you in with a scan of a non-electronic ticket).
   37. Fat Al Posted: March 21, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4393441)
Of course, StubHub has a pretty easy method for mailing/receiving physical tickets if you're planning far enough ahead.
   38. sinicalypse Posted: March 21, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4393821)
I got stopped by a plainsclothes police officer when the new ballpark opened.


So what's the letter of the law when it comes to reselling/"scalping" tickets? Say you've got the proverbial situation where someone from your party canceled at the last minute due to illness or something, is it illegal to try and get any $$$ for the ticket, within or outside of the 1500 foot radius of the ballpark?

As I always understood it, "scalping" outside of a ballpark, or seeking to profit by taking, say, a $50 ticket and selling it for more than the $50 outside of the stadium is illegal cuz it's clearly immoral and WRONG (except when the Cubs get the OK to open up "Wrigley Field Premium Seating Services" right by the ballpark cuz obviously re-selling tickets as a whole is quite legal as StubHub.com still exists and whatnot) but is it illegal because its within the immediate vicinity of the ballpark, or is the actual act of being an unlicensed re-seller (i.e. uncle sam / the state don't get their cut) the part that's actually illegal?

I've obviously never scalped a ticket nor have I had that dreaded situation where I picked up a baseball ticket for someone and they didn't show at the last minute, so I'm just wondering where the illegality comes from in this situation. If someone bails at the last second are you supposed to turn around and give the ticket back to the team so they can sell it again at face value, or are you basically in a situation where the best case scenario, legally speaking, is just saying "oh wow i've got extra space for all of the crap i bought at the shopping mall that is the concourse?"

Long story short, I reckon it's probably just the vicinity to the ballpark as the teams want to try and encourage people to return tickets au gratis for their resale double-profit, cuz once again the mere existence of stubhub and gold coast tickets and whatnot obviously point to the fact that in the big/ger picture resale of tickets is technically legal.

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