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Yankees, StubHub meet to discuss ticketing policy

New York Yankees president Randy Levine speaks

New York Yankees president Randy Levine speaks during a news conference at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. Credit: AP / John Minchillo

Yankees president Randy Levine met Wednesday with StubHub president Scott Cutler to discuss the Yankees’ new ticketing policy and its potential impact on the popular secondary market site.

While no resolution of the matter was announced, both sides struck a conciliatory tone regarding what has been a contentious issue.

“We had a good and productive meeting,” Levine said in a statement the team issued. “It lasted about an hour and we agreed to continue talking. There is nothing to announce at this current moment, but we will update everyone when we have news.”

StubHub then issued a statement that read, “StubHub appreciates the Yankees’ willingness to meet and have an open dialogue with regards to their ticketing policies. We were encouraged by the tenor of the conversation and look forward to continuing these discussions in the days ahead.

“StubHub is committed to putting fans first and passionately advocating for them with both our partners and the industry at large.”

Last week, the Yankees announced they no longer would accept print-at-home tickets, citing a desire to minimize fraud, and instead would permit only traditional hard-stock tickets and mobile tickets that can be displayed on smartphones.

The move widely was viewed at least in part as an attempt to make it more difficult for StubHub to serve fans wishing to buy and/or resell Yankees tickets.

The Yankees are one of three major-league teams that do not have a partnership with the company — the Angels and Red Sox are the others — and for years have viewed StubHub as a threat to their ticketing business.

The Yankees would prefer that fans buy and resell using the Yankees Ticket Exchange, which unlike StubHub uses price floors that do not allow resale tickets to be sold below a certain level.

Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost initially said on WFAN last week that StubHub could transact deals using mobile ticketing if it wanted to. StubHub countered to Newsday that it could not do so unless the Yankees and their partners at Ticketmaster provided the coding that would make that possible.

On Saturday, Levine told The New York Times that he would be open to discussing a resolution with StubHub. The first step was Wednesday’s meeting.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. publicly shared a letter Wednesday morning that he said he had sent to Levine, which read:

“I have been a Yankee fan my entire life. Without the everyday, working class fans who make up the vast majority of their fan base, the New York Yankees would not be the successful franchise they are today. The Yankee organization should not be making it more difficult and more expensive for their fans, especially fans who might be visiting our great borough for the first time, to occasionally enjoy a ball game in The Bronx.”

Levine’s response to Diaz, via ESPN: “It doesn’t surprise me, given that we’ve stopped his endless funding requests. It does surprise me because the only time he showed up to Yankee Stadium was when we was on official business when he was comped. I guess there are no greater problems in the Bronx that he needs to spend his time on than ticketing.”

Diaz also commented on the remarks from Trost on WFAN that widely were interpreted as elitist. Trost said, “Quite frankly, the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.”

Said Diaz: “Yankee fans have always been the best in baseball. We root for our team harder than anyone, we live and die with every single loss. The idea that some of us would recoil in horror because the person sitting next to them paid less than face value for their seat is absurd, and represents the very definition of elitism.”


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