Monday, March 9, 2009

Gluttonous Sports Teams Now "Hurting" for Cash

So now the Cowboys, Yankees, and Mets are hurting for spectators to roll in and dish up exorbitant amounts of money to watch games. And I use the word "games" deliberately. Hey, I'm as big a sports fan as many, but let's remember, they're just games. Well, games that are apparently worth more than most people's monthly mortgages. From the Wall St. Journal describing the lavish new Yankees Stadium (kudos to ESPN Sports Radio host, Colin Cowherd):

Luxury suite-holders can access a separate deal-room for conducting business. In the sleek, exclusive "Legends Club," the high-definition screens are so ubiquitous they're even set into the lavatory mirrors. For spectators in the premium section's teak-armed seats, waiters will bring brick-oven pizza to anyone able to shell out $2,500 a ticket to watch a ballgame in the midst of the worst recession in a generation.

The story mentions that the Yankees' stadium cost $1.5 billion to build. And they're not the only sports team "hurting" for business because they spent big a few years back. The Dallas Cowboys' new stadium set them back $1.1 billion, and the New York Mets also built a new stadium that exceeded the $1 billion mark.

How does the Cowboys' stadium compare for those who live the lifestyles of the rich and famous?

Top-level ticket holders can actually park inside the stadium building, then relax in the more than 200,000 square feet of clubs and lounges.

And why spend so liberally on such excessive perks?

When the Yankees broke ground on the new Yankee Stadium in August 2006, home prices were still rising, stocks were still climbing and Lehman Brothers was still a pillar of the Wall Street establishment. Back then, selling 4,300 premium seats to 81 home games a season seemed like a reasonable objective.

Look, I don't care if business was booming in 2006. Luxury tickets at $2,500 a pop are never warranted, for anyone. Can someone please say social stratification … and social indifference?

In an ironic turn of events, the Mets' stadium has been named "Citi Field," after you guessed it, Citigroup (dare I say a now deviant association).

Citigroup, which has received billions of dollars of federal aid, has been forced to defend its $400 million marketing deal with the Mets that includes the right to name the park Citi Field. The Mets have endured weeks of jokes about renaming their field "Taxpayer Stadium" or "Bailout Park," but the deal with Citigroup looks safe for now. A Citigroup spokesman says no taxpayer money will be used for the marketing deal.

One Yankees fan summed up the team's economic gluttony best, saying, "Literally, my words were, 'Are you f- kidding me?'"

Ditto that.
(Photo courtesy of The Wall St. Journal)

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