|Location|| East 161st Street & River Ave.|
Bronx, New York
|Owner||City of New York|
|Operator||New York Yankees|
|New York Yankees (2009-present)|
Yankee Stadium II is a new professional baseball Ballpark for the New York Yankees that opened in 2009 to replace the Old Yankee Stadium. Yankee President Randy Levine has stated that the naming rights may be sold and the park named "Yankee Stadium at (company name) Plaza". This stadium is informally called Yankee Stadium III (The renovated stadium is considered Yankee Stadium II). It is being built on the current site of Macombs Dam Park in the New York City borough of the Bronx, across the street from the current Yankee Stadium, which it will replace. The existing stadium opened in 1923, making it the third oldest Major League Baseball stadium currently in use behind Fenway Park and Wrigley Field respectively.
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the stadium took place on August 16, 2006, the 58th anniversary of Babe Ruth's death, with team owner George Steinbrenner, Governor of New York George Pataki, Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg among the notables donning Yankees hard hats and digging up some dirt to mark the occasion. The new facility has a planned 2009 opening (the same year as Citi Field, future home of the New York Mets).
The Yankees' desire to move to a new stadium dates back to the 1980s, where Yankee owner George Steinbrenner publicly considered a move of the franchise to a safer area of the New York City metropolitan area. The South Bronx was considered a bad neighborhood. However, in the 1990s, with the team becoming successful on the field, attendance increased dramatically. With the large number of people coming to the Bronx, and the increased security in the area on game days, this became less of a problem, and thoughts turned to a new or renovated stadium in the Bronx.
Days before leaving office in December 2001, New York City Mayor Rudolph Guliani announced "tentative agreements" for both the New York Yankees and New York Mets to build a $1 billion stadium. Of $1.6 billion sought for the stadiums, city and state taxpayers would pick up half the tab for construction, $800 million, along with $390 million on extra transportation. The plan also called for forgiving $80,000 that the Mets owed the city in cable revenues and giving both teams an additional $25 million in planning money. The plan also said that the teams would be allowed to keep all parking revenues, which state officials had already said they wanted to keep to compensate the state for building new garages for the teams. The teams would keep 96% of ticket revenues and 100% of all other revenues, not pay sales tax or property tax on the stadiums, and would get low-cost electricity from New York state. Business officials criticized the plan as giving too much money to successful teams with little reason to move to a different city.
During his eight years as mayor, Giuliani was a constant advocate of publicly funded stadiums. The dual $1 billion plans had also been put forth unsuccessfully by Giuliani in 1996. Giuliani faced questions about how to finance these stadiums, while the city struggled to balance the budget. Recently built stadiums in Baltimore and Cleveland had cost one-third to one-fourth the $1 billion set aside for the proposed New York stadiums; the $1 billion stadiums were to be the most expensive in American history. His 1998 plan to relocate the Yankees to the west side of Manhattan had been met with strong opposition; at that time, $3 million in city money was given to the Yankees for site planning. Six city officials were sent on a city trip to explore stadiums in Baltimore, Denver and other cities.
Successor as mayor Michael Bloomberg exercised the escape clause in the agreements to back out of both deals, saying that the city could not afford to build new stadiums for the Yankees and Mets. Bloomberg said that unbeknownst to him, Giuliani had inserted a clause in this deal which loosened the teams' leases with the city and would allow the Yankees and Mets to leave the city on 60 days' notice to find a new home elsewhere if the city backed out of the agreement. At the time, Bloomberg said that publicly funded stadiums were a poor investment. Under Bloomberg, the New York City government would only offer public financing for infrastructure improvements; the teams would have to pay for the stadiums themselves. Bloomberg, whose electoral victory is largely attributed to the support Giuliani gave him on the campaign trail, even went so far as to call the former mayor's agreements "corporate welfare." Giuliani had already been instrumental in the construction of taxpayer-funded minor league baseball facilities KeySpan Park for the Mets' minor league Brooklyn Cyclones and Richmond County Bank Ballpark for the Staten Island Yankees.
The New York Times editorialized against the financing, saying, "Perhaps politicians serving out their last days in office should be urged to do as little as possible. Certainly former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani did not do the city any favors when he fell into the trap of trying to wrap up deals for new Mets and Yankees baseball stadiums a few days before stepping down."
The new stadium's design, by HOK Sport, consists of two separate structures. The exterior will be a wall circling the perimeter of the Yankees' new property, and will resemble the pre-renovation exterior of the original Yankee Stadium. The interior will be a modern ballpark, with increased modern amenities that have become a staple of every new ballpark since Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in 1992. It will feature a replica of the copper frieze (facade), that lined the inner wall of Yankee Stadium's upper deck until 1973. This lining was torn down during the 1974–75 renovations. A replica of this frieze lines the portion of the original structure that was removed during those renovations, beyond the outfield wall. It is above the bleachers and faces River Avenue. The Yankees use this frieze as a marketing tool on television and in print, and have allowed the sporting-goods chain Modell's to use it, too.
Between the perimeter wall and the stadium will be an area that those in the Yankee organization are calling a "great hall," which would feature more than one million square feet of retail space, a significant increase from Yankee Stadium.
The field's dimensions will be identical to those at Yankee Stadium and at the Legends Field spring training / minor league baseball facility in Tampa, Florida. The new stadium will seat 51,000 fans, compared with 57,545 in Yankee Stadium (although that number does not include seating in luxury boxes). The new stadium's seating will be spaced outward in a bowl, rather than upward in stacked tiers, placing most fans further away from the field. Field-level seats will be near 30,000, compared with 20,000 in Yankee Stadium, and about 20,000 seats in the upper deck. Although nothing has been officially announced, the design of the new upper deck appears to have two distinct (and likely differently priced) sections, similar to the current Tier Box closer to the field and the Tier Reserve. There will be half as many bleacher seats as Yankee Stadium's 7,500, but 1,000 standing room spots will be added. In addition, there will be 60 luxury boxes between the two decks, replacing the loge section of the current stadium. Yankee Stadium has 16 luxury boxes, around both sides of the press box, which is directly behind home plate. It has also been proposed to construct a retractable roof for the new stadium which will allow for games to be played under inclement weather conditions.
Monument Park, which features the Yankees' retired numbers, five freestanding monuments, and a few dozen plaques dedicated to some of the Yankees' great players and managers (and Yankee Stadium visitors) beyond the left-center field wall, would be relocated to the new stadium. Based on designs revealed in 2005, the new Monument Park will be in center field, situated under a restaurant covered in black tinted glass, which would serve as the batter's eye.
The new stadium will be served by the same station complex as the current stadium: 161st Street-Yankee Stadium of the New York City Subway. The stadium will also be served by multiple bus lines and have ferry service. There are also plans for a Metro-North station to serve commuters from Manhattan via Grand Central Terminal and 125th Street, from New York's northern suburbs, and from Connecticut.
Parking lots and garagesEdit
Aside from existing parking lots and garages serving the stadium, construction for additional parking garages is planned. The New York State Legislature agreed to $70 million in subsidies for a $320 million parking garage project. It is not clear who would fund the remaining $250 million and who would reap the parking revenue. This would give the Yankees approximately 3,000 more parking spaces than the current stadium has.
- Main article: 161st Street-Yankee Stadium (New York City Subway)
The Yankees have asked for new entrances to be constructed on the north side of the 161 Street subway station, since most of the entrances are currently on the south side, closer to the current stadium. With the MTA claiming to face debt in upcoming years, that construction is not considered to be a priority. Currently, to save money, not every entrance and exit is open at the station on game days, leading to crowded platforms.
- Main article: Yankee Stadium (Metro-North station)
The night before the new stadium faced a City Council vote — the last legislative approval needed — Governor Pataki urged the state's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build a station for the Metro-North commuter railroad's Hudson Line, which runs adjacent to Yankee Stadium. This project has been promoted for several decades, and in the MTA's annual budget since the 1980s. Despite being part of the Yankee Stadium renovation plan during the 1970s, the station never materialized. As a result, many question whether the project will ever come to fruition.
The new station, which the MTA estimates will cost $45 million, will provide service to all three Metro North lines (Hudson, Harlem and New Haven) via existing track connections that are not normally used for revenue passenger services. Approximately ten trains before and after the games will serve the station and will allow riders to leave from and travel to stations on all three Metro North lines. A shuttle train will also transport fans between the stadium and Grand Central Terminal.
Rather than the $800 million value affixed to the stadium (which is for only the stadium and not for the parking garages, highway improvements and other items associated with the construction), independent analysts have set the tab for the complete project closer to $1.3 billion. The city's share includes allowing the Yankees to occupy 22 acres of Macombs Dam Park and John Mullaly Park (which is already used for stadium parking on game days), and to build parking garages on those parks. City-funded artificial surface will be placed on top of those parking garages to make up for the lost parkland. The city would retain ownership of the land, but would not charge the Yankees rent or property taxes. The city currently charges rent at Yankee Stadium; no sports teams pay property taxes in New York. In addition, the city would foot the bill for acquiring scattered parcels of land near the waterfront, about a half-mile away, and building smaller parks there, even though the project was precipitated by the Yankees' desire to acquire the current parkland. The cost of renovating the existing parkland would be about $25 million; building new parkland will cost $150 million. That cost includes demolition costs for the historic Yankee Stadium, which would be completely torn down. The building's destruction would be paid for entirely by the city and replaced with parkland. The city will also issue tax-exempt bonds for the Yankees' new stadium. The Yankees would repay those bonds with payments in lieu of taxes; the Yankees have not paid taxes.
New York state taxpayers will pay $70 million to help the Yankees build parking garages (as authorized by the State Legislature). The parking-garage project would cost $320 million. No one has specified who will be responsible for the remaining $250 million and where the parking proceeds will go. State taxpayers, through money that has accumulated from the MTA's budget since the 1980s, will also pay all of the costs of a train station on the Metro-North commuter railroad.
In addition to the public subsidies and billions of dollars of increased revenue, the Yankees will benefit from a change to Major League Baseball's 2002 collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which allows teams to deduct new-stadium building costs from the revenue-sharing payments they make. For the Yankees, whose $200 million player payroll makes them the largest contributor to the revenue-sharing pool, this means 40 percent of their share of the price tag may be borne by the remaining 29 baseball teams. All told, the Yankees and the taxpayers can each expect to pay about $450 million, with the remaining costs to be shared among the other baseball teams.
Still, the cost of the stadium resulted in the Yankees opting against a design with a retractable-roof, even though New York's climate might make one appropriate.
While the stadium will have Yankee Stadium in its name, the team is considering the sale of partial naming rights. Possibilities include Yankee Stadium at (sponsor) Plaza, as well as naming gates similar to the practice at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
The Yankees have not indicated what ticket prices will be in their new stadium, but team officials say they have not ruled out charging a "license fee" for each seat. This is a cover charge of several hundred dollars (or several thousand dollars, depending on the seat location) that each fan pays for the right to then purchase season tickets. Several teams have used this method to generate more revenue from their new stadiums. The Yankees no longer use the terms "season tickets" and "combination plans" in renewal notices to holders of these tickets. Two years ago, the Yankees began calling these packages "ticket licenses", and ticket "Account Holder" became ticket "Licensee." To date the Yankees have not charged any additional fee for being a ticket "Licensee."
What also has yet to be addressed is what sections of the new stadium would correspond to the old stadium, for ticket license holders, particularly given the fact that there will be fewer seats in the upper deck, and more in the lower level. It is unknown if current Tier Box licensees would be assigned or have a choice between the new upper deck or the expanded lower level, and if Tier Reserve license holders would be secondary to those Tier Box holders in remaining in the upper deck.
Other elements that are unknown include whether the stadium will have a Hammond Organ, since many newer facilities have eliminated organs in place of more seating, as the Yankees have reduced its usage in the past decade, and even more so after the 2003 season, with the retirement of noted organist Eddie Layton. Also unclear is whether the new stadium will include studios for the YES Network, which are currently in Stamford, Connecticut. The current stadium has a small studio which has rarely been used by YES after many years of use by MSG Network.
The stadium project has been given a Bronx cheer by some community groups, urban planners, and parks, health, and public transportation advocates. In the fall of 2005, Bronx Community Board 4 voted against the project (the board's decisions are nonbinding). Opponents contend that a private business should not be entitled to more than $400 million in public subsidies, because they believe that there is no public benefit to the project. Opponents also object to demolishing the country's third-oldest baseball stadium, one of the defining structures in American sports.
The largest objections have come from neighborhood residents. Unlike previous stadium discussions, this one took place without the community's input. The Yankees obtained preapproval from the relevant legislators before announcing their plan, allowing no room for negotiation. The transfer of Macombs Dam and John Mullaly Parks was passed by the New York State Legislature without a public hearing in the days after the stadium’s design was unveiled. Opponents say this violates state and federal laws designed to protect parkland.
City officials, including Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr., say the parkland will be replaced with better parks. Community groups say the new parks would be small and scattered, compared with the 22 acres of central, continuous open space that was available. Some parks would be built on the Harlem River waterfront, which is one mile away from the current parkland and requires walking under an interstate highway and over railroad tracks to access. Ten acres of the replacement parks would be built on artificial surface atop new parking garages; these parks would be closed to accommodate fans' cars on the 81 home game days, which account for almost half of the days during the six-month baseball season. Other parks would be built on the 9-acre site of Yankee Stadium, which would be completely torn down. The city has agreed to pay $150 million for the new parks and to demolish Yankee Stadium. Health advocates are concerned about the effect of increasing exhaust fumes and loss of 377 mature trees on this Bronx neighborhood, which has one of the highest childhood asthma rates in the United States.
Parks advocates contend that the Yankees are taking advantage of the neighborhood, which comprises the poorest congressional district in the United States. Comparisons have been made to other neighborhoods, such as those surrounding Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Central Park in Manhattan, where every inch of parkland is carefully guarded from the incursion of private business onto these public spaces.
Community groups want the Yankees to use several available parcels of land south of East 161st Street to build their stadium, or to renovate Yankee Stadium. A plan discussed in 1998 estimated the cost of stadium renovation at $200 million. Renovating the existing parkland would cost about $25 million.
The Yankees and elected officials have also said that Yankee Stadium is "falling apart." The city's Buildings Department, which examines all city-owned buildings (including Yankee Stadium) annually, says the stadium is structurally sound enough to stand for many decades to come, despite a 1998 accident where one of the stadium's support beams collapsed hours before a game was scheduled to be played.
City officials, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, say the neighborhood will benefit from the new stadium, even with the two large parks being replaced with much smaller and scattered segments of parkland. Yankees President Randy Levine says a new stadium will create thousands of jobs for the community. The New York City Economic Development Corporation, whose members are appointed by the mayor, says the stadium would increase the city’s tax base by $96 million over a 30-year period, a figure considerably smaller than the $450 million the public is chipping in to bring the new stadium to life.
It also ensures that the Yankees will remain in New York City for the next several decades. In the 1980s, the Yankees flirted publicly with relocating to the Meadowlands Sports Complex, saying that fans—many of whom live outside New York City itself—were unwilling to travel to the South Bronx for games, mostly because of traffic concerns (the current stadium can be accessed by subway, but not by Metro-North) and crime concerns outside the stadium. Even when the team won the 1996 World Series, few weekday home games drew crowds much beyond half the stadium's capacity, and some did not exceed 20,000 spectators. The recent upswing in attendance, partially due to $5.00 tickets for mid-week night games since 2002 (helping the Yankees attract 4 million fans in 2006 for the second year in a row, averaging nearly a sellout every game) has quieted those arguments somewhat.
- ↑ announcing new stadium. Construction Equipment Guide.com, March 2, 2007
- ↑ Yankees break ground on new $1 billion home ESPN.com, August 16, 2006
- ↑ New Yankee Stadium MLB.com
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Template:Citation/make link, The New York Times, January 17, 2002, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A06E7D91138F934A25752C0A9649C8B63&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fSubjects%2fS%2fStadiums%20and%20Arenas
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Bagli, Charles V. (January 16, 2002), Template:Citation/make link, The New York Times, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D01E7DE1338F935A25752C0A9649C8B63&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fSubjects%2fS%2fStadiums%20and%20Arenas
- ↑ Swarns, Rachel L. (April 22, 1996), Template:Citation/make link, The New York Times, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9504EEDB1F39F931A15757C0A960958260
- ↑ New Yankee Stadium train station to lure suburban fans, The Journal News, October 29, 2006
- ↑ New park may add to Yankee clout, The Boston Globe, June 16, 2005. "The team will continue to call the new building Yankee Stadium, he said, but executives may sell other naming rights, such as calling the building Yankee Stadium at (corporate name) Plaza."