Maybe Fans Aren’t That Mad About Yankee Ticket Prices

We’ve shown that exorbitant ticket prices appear to be impacting the attendance for the Yankees more than the Mets, but in general, besides bad PR, the Yankees are still benefitting financially. So beyond managing the general news outlets and media through traditional PR efforts, let’s look for negative sentiment within other social media platforms.

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that the Yankees hold the upper hand in popularity in New York, according to a recent New York Times, Cornell and NY1 poll. New Yorkers favor the Yankees (34%) over the Mets (25%) – although a third of New Yorkers don’t favor either. In other words, among those that favor one team over the other, 57% favor the Yankees.

Thus it’s not too surprising that the number of posts in blogs, Twitter, forums and other social media for the two New York teams mirror their real world popularity (I used Radian6 dashboards to filter down the posts over the last 30 days):

All social mentions of the Yankees and Mets over the last 30 days

But just as a previous post pointed out the new stadium ticket pricing is impacting attendance for the Yankees more than the Mets, a similar pattern shows up in the volume of posts across social media: the Yankees lead the Mets by a 3-to-1 margin.

Yankees and Mets and social mentions that specifically address ticket prices

Before we go further, it’s pretty apparent that whereas ticket prices were a big issue around the start of the season, it is not a hot topic now: only 1.1% of social mentions about the Yankees concerning ticket prices (202 of 17.679). Even further, we don’t have a feel for which percentage of those mentions are negative.

Let’s focus in on blogs (they make up just about half of all mentions). The Radian6 tool doesn’t provide automated sentiment classificationat this point (a feature coming this summer), so I’ll turn to another tool, SocialMention.com. Of the 137 blog posts about the Yankees ticket prices, SocialMention.com shows a favorable sentiment of 2:1 with 41 positive mentions and 17 negative mentions (the rest being neutral). With only 17 negative posts out of 137, it’s relatively easy to dive down manually and identify specific blogs, their relative post strength signifying the influence of the poster, as well as identifying the extent of the negative sentiment:

Example of SocialMention.com results for blog posts about Yankees ticket prices where the sentiment is negative

This is great for honing in on a specific topic and understanding what users are saying, but it gets daunting if topics drive a prolific number of posts.

After listening to users, if the Yankees identify a specific issue that needs to be addressed, the next step is how to reach those users. Beyond reaching out to hardcore season ticketholders, email lists of fans and the traditional press, it might be worth engaging the blogosphere where a majority of comments are made. While Social Mention lets you sort on comments based on post rank, tools like Raidan6 let you aggregate at the blog/poster level to identify some of the more “influential” blogs (aggregating posts from a specific source and using Radian6’s algorithm based on the number of on-topic posts, replies, inboud links, etc.).

For the Yankees, specifically around ticket prices, these were the top five most influential blogs over the last 30 days: the LoHud Yankees blog by the Lower Hudson Journal’s beat writer, River Ave. Blues, the official YES network Yankees blog (which the Yanks ostensibly control); Sliding Into Home by a die-hard Yankees fan; Kevin Davidoff’s Baseball Insider, by a Newsday beat writer; and Bronx Banter . It appears the most influential blogs appear to be properties already tied to press or beat writers, which are already probably being served by traditional PR efforts.

In this specific example, with only 1.1% of comments being about ticket prices and only 12% of those potentially negative,the perception of bad PR around the high-cost of Yankees tickets doesn’t appear to be as negative as some in the blogosphere would like to suggest. Yankee fans are much more concerned about A-Rod slumping or losing to the Nationals and may be resigned to the fact that they are going to end up watching their Bombers on TV rather than at the Stadium.

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