The opening of two sparkling new baseball parks in the Metropolitan New York area gave critics and fans (sometimes they are one in the same) plenty of things about which to complain and praise. I was at Citi Field (maybe we should call it U.S. Government Field) opening night. The ballpark is beautiful but of course compared to rickety old Shea Stadium that’s not saying much. Yet I grew up watching the Mets at Shea. Citi Field seems to me like another team’s ballpark. I expect that to change when I attend more games but I could not even get to see a third of the stadium as I actually was there to watch a baseball game. One comment I heard was that the Mets (and Yankees too I presume) are more interested in attracting consumers than baseball fans. At an average ticket price of well over $ 100 many baseball fans are priced out of the equation.
I read this morning that despite the current deep recession live concert sales are up more than 18% 2008 over 2007. And if you have paid any attention to live concert ticket prices they appear to me to be no less expensive than baseball games at the new parks (or football games for that matter) – probably a good deal more. Of course $ 200 plus for Miley Cyrus is something I cannot fathom. And I have gone to the New York Philharmonic a few times recently and their ticket prices for a good orchestra seat are slightly less than a good seat at Citi Field.
But live concerts are a better value by far in my opinion. And I love sporting events. Yo-Yo-Ma and Miley Cyrus don’t have off nights when they perform. Or if they do it’s for the most part unnoticed by those in attendance. The orchestra, the ensemble, and frankly all the professional in the performing arts (on and off Broadway are great examples) have a much higher standard of accountability than athletes. How do professional baseball players, football players and other athletes not know the rules of the game? If a pitcher has a bad game he comes out in the third inning. I don’t believe I have ever heard of an artist leaving the stage saying ‘I just don’t have it tonight’ – or their manager pulling them off stage for the same reason.
There’s no question in my mind what is the better value. That does not mean I won’t be going back to Citi Field to see my beloved Mets soon, (and I will also venture to the Bronx to see the Yankees even though I cannot stand them though I do like Jeter) because I’m a baseball fan. But people that go to live concerts are there for the performance and experience. I am not certain of the same with sporting events anymore.
Agree? Disagree? What do you think?