NEW YORK -- Even with a cut in some top-priced tickets, the New York Yankees still had large numbers of empty seats in prime areas when they returned home for the second homestand at $1.5 billion new Yankee Stadium.
Just 23 of 50 $2,500 seats in the first row between the dugouts were filled in by the top of the second inning of Thursday night's 7-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels. In the third inning, the entire third row was empty in section 20 behind home plate, although it mostly filled by the fifth.
What the Yankees did eliminate were the nearly empty $500 sections down each foul line. Those areas, which were nearly devoid of fans during the final five games of the opening six-game homestand, were half-filled Thursday.
On Tuesday, the Yankees cut the price of first-row Legends Suite seats in four sections on the outer half of the dugouts and photo cages from $2,500 to $1,250. According to a count by The Associated Press, 48 seats of what had been 146 seats were affected in the area that had been selling for $2,500 as part of season tickets and $2,625 for individual games.
In addition, 68 seats in the first row in the final three sections down each foul line were slashed from $1,000 to $650. New York also announced it would be giving free seats to those who bought season plans for seats costing $325 and up, with the number of free tickets depending on the price category. Many of those tickets might be getting dumped on the resale market.
On StubHub.com Wednesday, $850 Legends Suite seats in section 23, row 8 behind the visitors dugout were available for as little as $225 for Thursday's game and there were 15 Legends Suite listings below $500.
Field level seats in section 118, row 19 behind the plate, which originally sold for $325, could be had for as little as $62 Thursday, and there were 26 Field level seats between the bases listings at $150 or less.
The Delta Sky 360 Club, behind home plate on the main level, was half empty. The Yankees cut the price of first-row seats in those sections from $750 to $550.
Most of the main and upper decks were filled.
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner says the team had sold 85 percent of premium seats and 37,000 full-season equivalents, more than 3.4 million tickets. But it has been apparent most of the unsold seats were closest to the field.
New York also says that many of the tickets for the empty seats have been sold but either aren't being used early in the season or the fans who bought them are spending time in the duplex restaurant behind home plate or the lounges behind each dugout. The restaurant and lounges provide free food and soft drinks to spectators with tickets in the first nine rows.