The Yankees are two months away from their first game against the Red Sox that counts, but their rivalry with another long-time combatant, StubHub, is in midseason form.
On Thursday the two sides offered differing interpretations of the implications of the Yankees’ new policy, which adds mobile tickets and eliminates the print-at-home option.
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Lonn Trost, the team’s chief operating officer, appeared on WFAN in the morning and asserted that fans still could transfer tickets using the popular secondary market site StubHub if StubHub were so inclined.
“If they don’t like to use the Yankees Ticket Exchange, they can go to StubHub,” Trost said on the “Boomer and Carton” show. “We know that StubHub can transfer tickets on mobile. If they choose not to, that’s not our business.”
StubHub does execute transactions using mobile transfers for various events, but Glenn Lehrman, a spokesman for the company, said Trost is mistaken in saying that would work with Yankees tickets.
“The only way we can transfer tickets is if the Yankees and Ticketmaster provide us with an API [application programming interface] feed that would allow us to do that,” he said. “It’s protected, and they have not granted us access, nor have they granted anyone access. If they wanted to grant us access, this is a different conversation.”
Trost also reiterated the Yankees’ position that eliminating print-at-home PDF tickets is a protection against fraud. (In an appearance on ESPN New York radio later Thursday, Trost said that fraud under the print-at-home model “was rampant, on a daily basis, every single game.”) Lehrman said there is no validity to that concern, saying StubHub encounters fraud in about 0.01 percent of transactions.
In theory, StubHub could work around the Yankees’ system by acting merely as a matchmaker between buyer and seller, but the buyer and seller would have to execute the transfer directly. That would be a departure from the site’s usual procedure.
The elimination of print-at-home tickets will make it more difficult for fans to make last-minute purchases through sites such as StubHub. Fans still would be able to receive traditional, hard-stock tickets in the mail from sellers or pick them up at the StubHub site near Yankee Stadium.
But Lehrman said electronic transfers are “obviously much more preferred than having to get a ticket in the mail or pick it up in person.”
StubHub has partnerships with every Major League Baseball team other than the Yankees, Angels and Red Sox. Fans of a team such as the Mets can make transfers seamlessly using any method.
One of the key differences between the team-controlled ticket exchange and the open market is the use of price floors, which StubHub and other secondary market sites do not employ.
Trost told WFAN, “The problem below market at a certain point is that if you buy a ticket in a very premium location and pay a substantial amount of money. It’s not that we don’t want that fan to sell it, but that fan is sitting there having paid a substantial amount of money for their ticket and [another] fan picks it up for a buck-and-a-half and sits there, and it frustrates the purchaser of the full amount.”
Trost then added a comment that raised eyebrows on social media because of its seemingly elitist undertones. “And quite frankly,” he said, “the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.”