A Nostalgic Look At The 1978 Yankees Schedule Handout
I attended about 25 games in 1978 at Yankee Stadium. I was a young lad with a minimal allowance. So how could I afford it? Mostly I would buy general admission tickets. The cost, $2.50.
When I would splurge, about six times a year, I could buy a box seat for $6.50. Anywhere in the stadium. Field box, mezzanine, upper box, it didn’t matter, they were all available.
The Yankees drew over 50,000 fans 13 times during the year. Seven of the large crowd games were against the Red Sox. The average home attendance for the season was only 28,838.
I pulled this tri-fold schedule from my collection. The ticket prices are displayed below: Box Seats $6.50; Reserved Seats $5.00; General Admission $2.50 and Bleacher Seats $1.50.
There are several other things to notice here. First the schedule itself. The season began April 8 on the road. The Yankees did not play at home until April 13 when presumably the weather would be warmer (it was 75 degrees that day). The season ended October 1.
During the year the Yankees would play 27 home day games. That is 1/3 of their home schedule, virtually the same number that they will play in 2013. But, there were three scheduled home doubleheaders, none of this split day/night junk. The starting times were 2pm for day games, 8pm for night games, 1pm for doubleheaders and 5:30pm for twi-night doubleheaders. Remember those?
Only 81 games, half of the scheduled 162 games, were televised. If the game was not on TV WPIX (11 Alive), you listened to it on the radio, as all the games were broadcast on 1010 WINS-AM radio, with announcers Phil Rizzuto, Bill White and Frank Messer covering radio and TV.
Every game was not an opportunity for a promotion for a meaningless trinket to be given away by some marketing genius who attached a corporate name with a piece of junk.
There were only six promotional giveaway days in 1978, but already they were beginning to attach sponsorships to the giveaways. Steak & Brew Burger Pennant Day; Dellwood Helmet Day; English Leather Jacket Day; Burger King Bat Day; Dellwood Picture Album Day and Standard Brands Fan Appreciation Day.
If you ordered tickets by mail there was a service charge. It was 25 cents.
I photographed a ticket stub for a game I attended the next year, June 21 1979, exactly 34 years ago today with three friends. I bought the tickets at the box office in March. It is in the first row, right on the field, just past third base. The cost had gone up from 1978 as you can see, it was now $7.00!
A similar seat in 2013, now called Legends Suites, for the whole season is, get this, $76,950. That is $950 per game. Individual tickets without the season plan are even more expensive. Now I know there has been inflation over the last three decades. But this seat is almost 140 times its 1979 price!
Besides a few stocks, is there anything else that has gone up 140 times in its price/value since 1979? Can a child afford to buy this seat on his or her own? Maybe if your child’s last name is Bloomberg, Rockefeller or Buffett. Today, for an average kid or more realistically, a regular working person, this current price is obscene. How does this pricing model and access to seats help develop a budding interest in baseball?
This 2:00pm game that I enjoyed on Thursday, June 21, 1979 saw Luis Tiant and the Yankees defeat the Blue Jays 3- 1. The time of the game was two hours and two minutes. Attendance 19,278. I walked to the game from my home in the Bronx. I probably spent an additional $3.00 on a hot dog, a knish, a pretzel and a soda. Total cost for the day was $10.00.
That $10.00 is the equivalent of $36.97 in 2013. What does $37.00 buy today at Yankee Stadium? A bleacher seat (that might as well be in China, it is so far from the field), a hot dog and a soda. Isn’t it enough to rip people off on the seating? Do they have to gouge fans on the concessions? Apparently yes. And people wonder why an entire generation is losing interest in baseball.