Fans shelling out big bucks for Yankees, Mets home openers

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Mets and Yankee fans are getting grand-slammed — in their wallets — as they try to buy rare tickets for their teams’ home openers.

As fans return to Yankee Stadium and Citi Field for the first time since the pandemic struck, they’re facing 20-percent capacity restrictions, and skyrocketing ticket prices on the secondary market.

Tickets to see the Amazins and their shiny new shortstop Francisco Lindor play April 8 vs. the Florida Marlins in the first home game of the Steve Cohen era were commanding an average of $687 per seat on StubHub and other sites Friday. Prices ranged from $226 to $3,490, according to price tracker TicketIQ.

Tickets to the Bronx Bombers’ Thursday opener against the Toronto Blue Jays were averaging $412 a ticket — with the cheapest seats running $110 and prime ducats going for $3,800 a pop.

Under orders of Gov. Cuomo, no more than 10,800 fans can attend Yankee games or 8,492 per Mets games, and fans must adhere to new rules calling for proof of negative COVID-19 tests or vaccination; cashless transactions, and mandatory mask wearing.

A young fan cheers during the second inning as the Mets host their home opener on April 4, 2019.
A young fan cheers during the second inning as the Mets host their home opener on April 4, 2019.
Anthony J. Causi for NY Post

Both the Mets and Yankees opted not to increase ticket prices this season, and are offering season-ticket holders the first opportunity to buy the limited seats. But because both teams have more season ticket holders than seats available, many loyal, longtime fans were denied the chance to buy Opening Day tickets directly through the clubs.

Ralph Bracco, a 62-year-old actor from North Babylon, NY, has been a Yankee season ticket holder since the Reggie Jackson-led championship season of 1977. He said he was “left frustrated” trying to score elusive seats to “extend” his streak of attending home openers to 44 straight seasons — like the number “Mr. October” once wore.

Bracco said the team’s website was selling packages for the first 11 games for a total of $220 to $4,510 a seat – or as low as $20 for individual games – but tickets were all sold out before he could get through. Instead, he said he shelled out nearly $340 — including $70 in service fees — for two upper deck seats through SeatGeek.

Ralph Brocco, long time New York Yankee season ticket holder.
Ralph Brocco, a long time New York Yankee season ticket holder.
J.C.Rice for NY Post

“Without a doubt it’s aggravating because the website was hard to navigate, and I couldn’t get a Yankee ticket rep on the phone because the Stadium is closed,” he said. “But it’s the Yankees, and it is special to me to have gone to all these games in a row.”

Opening Day is historically a hot ticket, but the limited inventory has secondary market prices soaring — especially with fans starving for live action. All Major League Baseball teams played the entire 2020 regular season before empty seats and cardboard cutouts of fans.

The average Yankee ticket to Opening Day on the secondary market is running 51 percent higher than the $272 fans forked over two seasons ago, while Mets’ home opener tickets are running a whopping two and a half times more than the average $198 price of 2019.

Fans file into the stadium as the Mets host their home opener.
Fans file into the stadium as the Mets host their home opener on April 4, 2019.
Anthony J. Causi for NY Post

“The demand is there. Fans are more than ready to get back to going to sporting events,” said Greg Cohen, TicketIQ’s vice president of growth.

He also said Mets tickets are currently running much higher than Yankee tickets because there’s less inventory available. On Friday, there were roughly 4,000 Yankee tickets listed on the secondary market compared to about 400 Mets tickets.

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