Seeing that many empty seats is kind of sad.
A big deal has been made about the ticket prices at Yankee Stadium. If you've been paying attention since the opening of the new ballpark, you know that going to a Yankee game can set you back quite a bit. According to The Daily Herald, a newspaper out of Chicago, the average cost for four for tickets, parking, two beers, four sodas, four hot dogs, game programs and two baseball caps at Yankee Stadium last season came to $316.32. Which was second only to Fenway Park, which would have cost an average of $339.01 (as of April 1st, 2011).
Look, a business is going to charge as much as it can while still earning the largest profit possible. McDonald's isn't going to start charging 10 cents for a hamburger like they did in 1937, just like the Yankees aren't going to lower ticket prices behind him plate to $25 so they can fill those seats and make it looker better on television.
Here's a chart showing, by year, the average ticket price, total attendance for the year at Yankee Stadium, and the total gate for the season...
*Attendance numbers gathered from ESPN.com
First of all, lowering the average ticket price by $21.14 is not insignificant. That's a heck of a drop between two years. Unfortunately it's still the second highest average ticket price in MLB, second again to the Red Sox average cost of $53.38 (according to ESPN.com, as of last April). And it goes to show you how ridiculous ticket prices were in 2009. On the surface that may seem like a grand gesture by the team, as you can see that between 2009 and 2010 their total gate fell by $72,946,123. But I don't think the team could have kept up those attendance figures without bringing the price down.
Look at how many fans the team drew in 2009... 3,674,495, second only to the Dodgers who drew 3,761,653. I feel that the effect of the new stadium had quite a bit to do with people still shelling out a ton of money, so chances are the team couldn't have kept up that attendance without lowering ticket prices. You could point at the next season, when prices did drop, and see that they drew almost another 100,000 fans. However, that could not only have been due to the ticket price drop, but also since the team won the World Series before and teams tend to see a boost in attendance following a World Series victory.
The 2011 season is more telling, as after losing in the ALCS to the Rangers in 2010, the team's attendance dropped around 100,000 fans. This shows me that, had ticket prices remained closer to where they were in the stadium's inaugural season, attendance would have been down quite a bit. Which could negatively affect income from parking, merchandise, concessions, etc, which is most definitely not something the Yankee brass wants to do.
Due to that drop in attendance between 2010 and 2011 I really don't see the ticket prices going up within the next couple of years, and I could actually see ticket prices... at least in areas such as the bleachers, grandstand, and terrace... coming down a bit. Because while making up for that drop of about $6,000,000 is surely important to the team, the loss due to selling less garlic fries and beer surely hits harder.