Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post penned a scathing article on the awful state of sports in New York. It wasn’t a rant, but an honest appraisal of the high cost of watching teams that are basically… unwatchable.
This is the bottom line: It has never been this depressing to be a New York sports fan. There have been other bad eras. The year 1966 has always stood out as an especially sordid time, since the Giants bottomed out at 1-12-1, the Yankees finished 10th (last for the first time in 54 years), the Mets were actually ninth (though they lost six more than the Yanks), the Knicks were 30-50, the Rangers 18-41-11.
That’s some serious losing.
But in 1966, it was hard, damn near impossible, to buy a ticket to any of those teams, any of those games, for more than $10, which, factoring inflation, translates to around $72 today. And the overwhelming majority of seats could be had for at least half that much. A Yankee Stadium bleacher seat cost $1.25. You could get away with taking your kids to watch the kid quarterback at Shea — Joe Namath — for less than $40.
The teams may have been awful. But you didn’t feel held up. And so even if you griped about Allie Sherman or Walt Bellamy or Wes Westrum on the drive home, you probably weren’t nearly as bitter about it.
This is what our nine professional teams paid their players in 2013: $1,101,343,905.
That’s billion, with a “B.”
Skyrocketing player salaries and exorbitant ticket prices have made it tough for fans in what was once a city that prided itself on sports dominance. Not anymore.
Vaccaro calculated the Fan Cost Index for all nine New York Teams. That’s essentially the cost for four average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two modestly-priced souvenirs.
The Mets ended up being the best buy in town, coming in at $223.70. While that number may seem staggering for a family outing to Citi Field, imagine shelling out $643.78 to go see the Knicks at the Garden?
On the plus side… I’m betting that the Mets will be the first of these nine teams to make some real noise in the postseason and bring some pride back to New York. And without sounding too much like a homer, I believe that could happen as soon as 2014.