Beloved New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter will be taking the field for the last time at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night – at least that’s what some 50,000 fans who plan on attending are counting on. But if the Yanks' game against the Baltimore Orioles gets rained out --- a very real possibility -- what will happen to the small fortune spent on tickets for this historic event?
The forecast for Jeter’s farewell game -- he's retiring at age 40 after almost 20 years with the storied Yankees-- in the Bronx doesn’t look promising: The Weather Channel predicts a 100 percent chance of rain for start time at 7:05 p.m. While the rain probability drops to 30 percent by 11 p.m., if Jeter’s final game does get rained out, we still don't know if Major League Baseball will reschedule the game. According to MLB rules, games that are postponed and aren’t able to be completed before the end of the regular season will not be rescheduled unless they affect the playoffs. The MLB regular season ends on Sunday, and with the Yankees out of the playoffs, Jeter’s final game isn’t a critical one.
On Wednesday, the average price for a ticket was $642 online, CNN reports. If the game gets rained out and is not rescheduled, secondary-market sellers are at risk of losing about $12.5 million, Connor Gregoire of SeatGeek told Bloomberg, referring to an estimated 30,000 transactions at an average price of $415 per ticket.
“It would be a disaster for brokers if this game is rained out and never made up,” Gregoire said. “Brokers will lose all the profits they would have otherwise made on this, the most expensive regular-season ticket in MLB history.”
Rain fears prompted many ticketholders to sell their seats on secondary-market sites like Craigslist on Thursday, bringing some ticket prices down to around $200. For those who purchased their tickets on StubHub, the company has a refund policy for games that are permanently canceled. But for fans who decided to buy their tickets from individual sellers or scalpers, there is no return policy. And many are choosing to take the risk to see “The Captain” bat at home for the last time -- or at the very least, don the Yankee Pinstripes for the last time.
“Today, thousands of people will get the chance to see Jeter say his farewells. I want to be one of those people!” Pete Kay, a New Yorker who is trying to buy last-minute tickets on Craigslist (hopefully Legend Seats behind first base for $200) told International Business Times in an email. “Yes, it may get rained out and we may end up losing a chunk of money on the tickets, but it’s an opportunity to see a legendary player take his last at-bat in Yankee Stadium.”
Many diehard fans agree. Jennifer and Gary Scott, dedicated Yankee fans from Florida, have traveled to New York to see the game in person. The couple has already seen the team’s last two home games and has been scouring Craigslist to buy tickets for Jeter’s farewell game. Their budget is $250 each. The couple says they continue to check the weather report but are “confident the Yankee Gods will make the rain go away,” they wrote in an email to IBTimes. Even if the game gets rescheduled, their flight back to Florida leaves Friday. In that case, they said, they would resell the tickets online to recoup the cost.
Nicole Rosa, a 21-year-old senior at Boston’s Suffolk University, skipped class to take the train to New York on Thursday to catch Jeter’s last game. Her father has season tickets, and called dibs on one of them back in February when Jeter announced his retirement. While she didn’t pay for the tickets herself, she did spend more than $100 in non-refundable train fare to attend the game that might get canceled for good.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day for so long -- I would be absolutely crushed if it gets rained out.”
Christian Mantuano, who lives in Queens, initially put his four tickets up on Craigslist Thursday morning in fear of the rain. But about an hour after he posted them (at $500 each, the same piece he paid), he had a change of heart and has decided to go to the game.
“I won't be disappointed if it rains out and I lose out on an opportunity to sell them 'cause being at Jeter's last game in Yankee Stadium is priceless to me,” Mantuano said.” I have no regrets. Jeter is a legend and a role model and I’m happy to be there to support him, rain or shine.”
Peter Barko, a self-described “huge Yankees and Jeter fan,” paid $1,550 for two tickets on StubHub. When he heard about the forecast, he decided to forego the trip to Yankee Stadium to avoid the hassle and uncertainty the game will likely bring.
While Barko would receive a refund from StubHub if the game gets canceled and not rescheduled, he recognizes there's a chance the game will go on. Given that, he decided to sell his tickets on Craigslist on Thursday for the same price he paid. As of 2 p.m. they still had not been sold. He is committed to going to the game last minute if there are no takers, he said.
Scott Burleigh, an accountant from Connecticut, is more worried about his two-hour drive to and from the stadium than the rain. “I think they’ll play. It’s just a matter of when and how long,” he said. “If it was just another game, I probably would have sold my tickets by now, but I’ll stick it out to see a legend like Jeter in his last game at Yankee Stadium.”
David Merino, from New Jersey, is determined to get tickets to Thursday’s game for $100 at most. He has been looking on Craigslist for sellers that fit his budget.
“I am taking the risk because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Merino said. He plans on attending the game with his three brothers. “For the rest of my life, I will get to look back and say, ‘I was there for Jeter’s first game and last.’ I would take the chance to lose a $100, because if it doesn’t get cancelled I have something I get to cherish the rest of my life with my brothers.”