Yankees President Randy Levine doesn't
want you commenting about all those
empty seats at Yankee Stadium, even if
you are the commissioner of MLS.
After a week of stories regarding the highest priced seats in Yankee Stadium going empty, Randy Levine is stressed. The president of the Yankees, one simply not used to anyone questioning how the Yankees conduct business, has instead been playing damage control.
Friday, it seemed to finally hit his breaking point.
On Thursday, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber was speaking to the Associated Press Sports Editors and said the following about the high-priced seats going empty at Yankee Stadium.
"It's incomprehensible that you watch a game, and there will be front-row seats empty," Garber said.
Levine came back at Garber with a line shot up the middle on Friday, responding through The AP.
"Don Garber discussing Yankee attendance must be a joke," Levine said Friday. "We draw more people in a year than his entire league does in a year. If he ever gets Major League Soccer into the same time zone as the Yankees, we might take him seriously.
"Hey Don, worry about Beckham, not the Yankees. Even he wants out of your league," he said.
Garber responded evenly to Levine's outburst.
"When I mentioned the New York Yankees yesterday, my comments were part of a larger assertion that all businesses -- even the most successful sports entities -- are experiencing some impact from the economic downturn," Garber said through a league spokesman.
"The Yankees are one of the world's strongest sports brands and the context of my comments about a few empty seats at Yankee Stadium was to illustrate the economic challenges we are all facing," he said.
And, Garber’s right. Levine, of course, is coming from a place where the Yankee brand is impervious to such economic tidal forces. To have one question the Yankees, why… How dare you? You get the feeling that Levine thinks soccer players look like a bunch of deer running around after being shot in the rear with a pellet gun. He's not known for being a very jocular kind of guy.
Finally, as part of a larger conversation, America doesn’t get soccer, but that doesn’t mean the world doesn’t. Here’s the Top 10 worldwide brands:
- Manchester United ($351 million)
- Real Madrid ($288 million)
- Bayern Munich ($255 million)
- New York Yankees ($217 million)
- Arsenal ($185 million)
- AC Milan ($184 million)
- Dallas Cowboys ($175 million)
- Barcelona ($130 million)
- Boston Red Sox ($125 million)
- Washington Redskins ($120 million)
Source: Forbes – World Top Sports Brands
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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