Field of Schemes
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March 05, 2009

Yanks' Trost one year ago: We'll take care of ya

A reader notes that the New York Yankees' handling of ticket plan holders at their new stadium conflicts with what team COO Lonn Trost promised in a WFAN radio interview last March 11:

Mike Francesca: Are some people getting relocated, getting hurt? Are there some guys who've been loyal season ticket holders who are gonna get hurt in this move?
Trost: We hope not. We spent substantial time coming up with a relocation program, and the relocation program will probably be public in about six weeks. The program basically says, we will put you in a comparable location, and you have the choice of taking it or not. If you don't want it, and elect to go down, or up, or move, we will do that also.
Chris Russo: You will take care of them.
Trost: We will take — and understand, this is most likely the largest and hardest relocation program in the history of sports. ... But the philosophy is try to give—
Francesca: And you're going to take care of your people in the bleachers, and take care of your people who are in the upper deck, and the guy who takes his son once a week, or has his Sunday plan. You're going to take care of that fan in this new ballpark.
Trost: The plans will be the same, or comparable.

That relocation plan actually took six months, not six weeks, to appear, and contained none of the guarantees about "comparable" seating that Trost promised to radio listeners. Noting that Trost has recently begun berating fans for "not reading the documentation," jilted miniplan holder Jay Jaffe tells FoS: "Basically, he's insulting his customers for failing to read the fine print."

In somewhat related news, there's apparently yet another freaking Richard Brodsky hearing on the Yanks' stadium tomorrow. Per a Brodsky press release: "Chairman Richard Brodsky of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions and Chairman Jim Brennan of the Committee on Cities will hold a hearing tomorrow, March 6 at 10:30 AM in Assembly Hearing room 1923 at 250 Broadway in New York City, to receive testimony and documents from New York Yankees President Randy Levine pursuant to a subpoena issued to Mr. Levine on January 13." Lord knows if Levine will actually bring the documents with him, mind you, or just a letter from his attorney saying why he shouldn't have to turn them over. Or, for that matter, what shade of purple he'll be.


Thanks for covering this, Neil. You do an awesome job with all of the stadium information.

I wish I could subscribe to an RSS feed of this site - any chance of that happening anytime soon?

Great article in BP 2009, by the way. Very interesting read.

Posted by Ross on March 5, 2009 05:32 PM

It's worth pointing out that not only did Joe Stalin's Guide to the New Yankee Stadium Gulags (a/k/a the Relocation Guide) contain none of the guarantees about "comparable" seating that Trost promised, it included the following, note in response to Question 8 in the FAQ on page 33 ("How will seats and seat locations be assigned in the new Yankee Stadium?"):

...With respect to existing "B" Plan and Partial Season Plan Licensees, the Yankees will attempt to assign seat locations in accordance with the Licensees' seating preferences as expressed in the Licensees' Relocation Program Questionnaires. [bold] However, please note, unlike existing Full Season and "A" Plan Licensees, under the Relocation Program, "B" Plan and Partial Season Plan Licensees will not receive reasonably comparable seat location assignments. All seat location assignments for existing "B" Plan and Partial Season Plan Licensees will be made in accordance with the Licensee's preferences as reflected in the Relocation Program Questionnaire submitted by the Licensee. All seat locations will be determined by the Yankees, subject to the pool selection process. Please see pages 36, 38 and 40, respectively, for more information. [/bold] (emphasis in original)

Got that? WILL NOT RECEIVE REASONABLY COMPARABLE SEAT LOCATION ASSIGNMENTS! Will receive unreasonably incomparable assignments. No wonder Trost is berating us for not having read the fine print, because he as much as said we were screwed, previous statements to the contrary be damned.

Posted by Jay Jaffe on March 5, 2009 06:20 PM

actually, this is the pertinent part in our case, Jay:

"All seat location assignments for existing "B" Plan and Partial Season Plan Licensees will be made in accordance with the Licensee's preferences as reflected in the Relocation Program Questionnaire submitted by the Licensee."

we requested $25 grandstand seats and were assigned $85 obstructed view seats behind the right field foul pole.
Its not that our new seating assignment is inconsistent with our previous seats, but rather that its inconsistent with the preference we stated in our relocation plan questionnaire.

We read the fine print and we still got screwed.

Posted by Nick Stone on March 5, 2009 06:29 PM

Ross, this site has had an RSS feed for a couple of years now. See the "RSS" link in the left-hand sidebar? Click that, and copy it into your RSS reader of choice.

Posted by Neil on March 5, 2009 08:57 PM

Nick, I was referring less to the specifics of our group's instance than to the generalities of partial plan ticket groups being screwed over.

Posted by Jay Jaffe on March 5, 2009 11:50 PM

Good point, Jay. I think the takeaway from this is that regardless of whether or not partial season ticket holders paid attention to the fine print, they got screwed over by the Yankees.

I know plenty of people say that the Yankees are a business, and as such, should be primarily concerned with maximizing revenue. By this line of argument, its the fans who are being unreasonable in their expectation that the Yankees owe them some kind of loyalty. But baseball is a business with an obligation to the public trust; the anti-trust exemption is proof of that.

Posted by Nick Stone on March 6, 2009 09:35 AM

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