(Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, prior to the opening of Citi Field, basking in the knowledge that once this picture is in wide circulation, pitchers will never again wear warmup jackets on the basepaths for fear of being mistaken for him)
“If you want to know why more than 450 city park workers are about to be laid off or why the Parks Department has imposed outrageous fee increases,” writes the New York Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez, “just take a look at Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium.” He doesn’t mean the respective menus as The Shack Shack or NYY Steak, either, and is instead, calling foul on the Bloomberg administration’s sweetheart arrangements with both franchises.
Shea and the old Yankee Stadium – both of which sat on park land, and were owned by the city – were the Parks Department’s biggest revenue generators.
Under the old Yankee Stadium deal, the city was assured a percentage of gate receipts, a percentage of food sales, even a percentage of the team’s cable revenue.
Because of that, the old stadium produced as much as $15 million a year for Parks – even after deducting costs for stadium upkeep.
Likewise, the Shea Stadium deal generated as much as $9 million annually for the city.
As recently as 2008, the two ballparks represented nearly half of the $51 million in concessions revenue generated by the entire Parks system.
On top of that, the city was taking in an additional $6 million annually from parking fees at Shea and the old Yankee Stadium.
Once the new ballparks opened, all that revenue disappeared – even the parking money.
Today, the Mets keep all their parking revenue. Meanwhile, the Yankee Stadium garages, run by an independent firm, are nearly bankrupt and may never produce the $3 million annually they agreed to provide the city.