Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.
NYU prof on baseball prices: 'borderline irresponsible'
I only had an hour or so to research my Wednesday newspaper article - the latest installment of a 30-plus-year-old story on the theme of, "How do the Yankee$ do it?"
Fortunately, I was able to turn up an interesting fellow named Mike Cramer, whom I never had spoken to before.
Turns out the former president of both the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars - and the guy who signed both Alex Rodriguez (in 2000) and Mark Teixeira (in 2001) - now is an assistant professor in the sports management department of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. (He said he still is "an investor" in the two Texas teams.
I quoted Mr. Cramer extensively in the article, including this great line about the A-Rod deal: "My name's on the contract, but I wouldnt brag that around.")
Click below for more of his thoughts that I couldn't fit into the newspaper.
(UPDATE: Check it out! Barry Horn has weighed in on this topic.)On Teixeira: "First of all, I know Mark Teixeira. We signed Mark when I was there in Texas. Mark's a good guy. The good news is at least they picked up a good character."
On the Yankees' strategy; "The Yankees' line is going to be that the expiring contracts they have are greater than the contracts they have signed these three guys (Teixeira, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett) for so far in the offseason. If you do the math, the combined expiring contracts on a yearly basis are greater than the ones they have signed these guys for. So I think that's fair."
On spending in the face of a recession: "The part thats real hard to believe, although I think I understand why theyre doing it, is that this is as bad an economy as weve ever seen. Its the worst economy that I hope I ever see. And it will impact sports teams. It is hard to swallow."
So how and why are they doing it? "They pre-sold a lot of their inventory for next year before the biggest issues with the market occurred. So they somewhat have a little immunity because of that. It is the first year of the stadium. I think theyll find enough fans to fill up the seats even if its not on a season ticket basis . . . They have spent so much money on this stadium and have so much invested in it they have to be able to service the debt. The debt is tremendous. They cant afford to have empty seats in August and September."
On the effects of and on the YES Network: "You can make the case that people will cut out premium TV (because of the economy). But you can also make the case that there are people who will not spend the money going out to games and will watch more TV. So there may be a cancellation factor there."
On whether the economy will have affect items such as individual game tickets, concessions and merchandise: "There is no way theyll hit their top-end projections."
On the price of tickets being charged in the new Yankee Stadium: "I think the numbers are crazy, getting on borderline irresponsible. I dont think the average fan can pay these prices. Maybe someone who used to go to five, eight, 10 games a year now will still go, but he might go to one or two, and I think the interest level will decline, and I hate to see it."