04.21.09

ClipperBlog’s Arnovitz: I’m Not Going to Pay a Lot for this Z-Bo

Posted in Basketball, Money at 2:56 pm by

Clean and classy and redolent of that new ballpark smell though they might be, New York’s new stadiums are already monuments to the (now disproved) belief that there would always somehow be a limitless pool of people willing to lay out hundreds of dollars to watch Nelson Figueroa or Nick Swisher up close. The city’s new ballparks have fewer seats, they’re more expensive, and the ones up top — as GC found out — generally have something of an afterthought vibe about them. That the Mets and Yankees unwisely chose to make baseball games a luxury purchase at the very moment that most people realized they probably should cut back on luxury purchases is evinced, game by game, in blocks of empty seats, and those seats will likely remain empty until the economy starts working again or the clubs lower prices. The fact that the biggest jerk in New York sports media is pointing this out doesn’t make it less true (or make Wally Matthews less appalling). And the fact that it’s pinching inexplicably self-serious Yankee fans who specialize in leading gay-baiting chants doesn’t make it suck any less. Well, kind of, but it’s still pretty lame.

Of course, this isn’t just happening in New York. At ClipperBlog, the estimable Kevin Arnovitz suggests a free-market response to the problem faced by Clippers season ticket holders stuck holding seats that — like TARP-y “legacy assets” that offer a view of Zach Randolph’s neck rolls instead of a slice of some defaulted mortgage in a Florida subdivision — are no longer worth what they cost.

Whether they™re trying to unload $100 tickets for pennies on the dollar or implementing œdynamic pricing, or hosting a Stubhub booth on their premises, pro sports franchises readily acknowledge that the market for their product is elastic. A pair of seats that fetches $40 to a Tuesday night game against Sacramento might go for five times that on a Saturday night against the Lakers. The Clippers know that, and they know you know.

To those outraged that they™re consistently being asked to pay more than their tickets are worth, my advice is to negotiate. Calculate the market value of your Clippers™ season tickets and offer that amount to your ticket rep. If you hold a pair of $27 seats between the baselines in the first few rows of the upper bowl, you know those tickets aren™t worth more than $20 on the open market. Your first offer to the season ticket rep should be in the $1,650 range ” well below the $2,376 the Clippers are asking. If you have friends or people in your section who approximate the value of their tickets similarly to you, then you should join together to enhance your purchasing power.

…This isn™t about kicking the organization while it™s down. If you have season tickets to the Nuggets, Magic, Hawks, Bobcats, Dodgers, Padres, Seahawks, Flames, LA Phil, or Geffen Playhouse, the same principles should apply. We negotiate home purchases, car leases, and gym memberships. The bank that holds my mortgage just went into receivership, and my assumption is that the FDIC will turn around and negotiate the sale of my loan at a discount. We™re in a recession ” everything is negotiable.

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