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New York City: No bonanza from forgoing MLB suites

Major League BaseballAn attempt to plug a budget gap and placate public perceptions by giving up 12-person luxury suites at the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field didn’t generate nearly the revenue anticipated by New York City officials.

When both ballparks opened, New York City had rights to “landlord suites” in the homes of the Yankee and Mets. Technically, the ballparks were built by the teams, but the land underneath them is still owned and controlled by the city. There was a small uproar at the thought of New York City officials getting free use of a suite, and with the city facing some financial issues, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a plan to add the two suites to existing inventory, giving the teams the opportunity to sell the suites on a per-game basis. He projected a million dollars a year in new revenue for the city.

Well, guess what: neither team made it a priority to sell the city suites, preferring (we assume) to sell them enough to seem respectable but not enough to too sharply cut into team revenues. The New York Daily News has the scoop on how poorly the suites ended up selling and how far away actual revenues were from the projected million-dollar level since going on the market in 2009:

Instead, the city has realized only a fraction of that amount, pulling in less than $160,000 last year. That’s because under its deal with the Yankees and Mets, the city relies entirely on the teams to scare up what could be easy revenue for the city that subsidized both teams’ new homes.

Both the Yankees and the Mets now appear to make barely any effort in that regard, with the Yankees renting out the suite on only 16 of 83 home games during the 2013 season, according to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Law. The Mets did slightly better, leasing it out for 30 games.

A box of similar size at Yankee Stadium typically rents for $600,000 per year. Last season the Yankees scrounged up a paltry $100,107 in rent for the “landlord suite” for the entire season. The Mets managed to collect a pathetic $59,889.


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