Conning The Hedge Fund Class

The Zola System In Action

A few years back, I managed to get what I thought were two pretty good seats to a Yankee/Tiger game, down the third base line a bit, right between the third baseman and left fielder.  I was really excited, no upper deck, no foul poles, right on the infield.  I called my buddy Pedro, a fellow baseball nut, and invited him along.  He told me he was going to the game with another friend.  “Ever since Harry (his friend, an investment strategist) took me to a game in his suite, I can’t sit in those seats anymore,” he said.


It was a shock to get turned by down by any baseball fan for a chance to see a game in those seats, whose face value is $250 a pop.  I had begged a beer distributor I knew three straight weeks to get those tickets.  This was in the middle of the Yanks fourteen year run of making the playoffs and those tickets were hot in this town. 


But, that’s just the way it is now.  The Hedge Fund Class has taken over and those of us not breathing their rarified air have to learn to deal with it.


The term ‘Hedge Fund Class’ was coined by Mark Kriegel in his column mid-week column for Fox to attempt to define how economically segregated New York has become.


Every time I go home to Manhattan, it feels less home-like. I suffer the symptoms of Tourrette’s Syndrome. You can find a Whole Foods, but not a Greek diner. It’s not my city anymore. The funky people — as insufferable as some of them might have been — have been banished in favor of the fund people. The resultant metropolis is Trump-like, which is to say, more crude and predictable and more like every other city with an Olive Garden and a Banana Republic.


Yes, even New York City is becoming a strip mall.


But, just when you thought to complain about how much it is going to cost to take the kids to a ball game next year, the Mets are raising their prices by 79% as they move into their new stadium next year and the Yanks top seat in the new Yankee stadium will be $2,500.00, here comes football season. 


The newly announced stadium for the Jets and Giants, which also opens next year, is running the latest con designed to up profits for owners and players alike: personal seat licenses.


From now on, when you want to purchase any season tickets to a New York football team, the first thing you have to buy is a seat license.  This will allow you the right to buy the season tickets.


If this sounds like an out and out shake down, it is.  Mark Kriegel writes:


I know a guy whose seats will go from $85 to $700 when the new football stadium opens in 2010. He doesn’t want to give his name for fear of reprisal, believing that the Maras and the Tisches can be as vindictive as the Sopranos. He’s desperately trying to hold on to the tickets, which have been in his wife’s family since the fifties when an uncle bought them to celebrate his survival in the Korean War.

But most likely, they’ll be sold. The corporation that buys them will enjoy waitress service and free non-alcoholic beverages.


The owners of the Giants and Jets have incurred a large debt in building their new stadium.  (The state of New Jersey just raised taxes on their residents to cover their cost of building this new pitch, so everyone is paying for this new joint, whether you can actually afford to go or not.)  So they use the personal seat license to not only hit every customer twice for season tickets but to get the proper part of the fan base, the Hedge Fund class, that can afford to see their massively priced football team in person in the seats.


My Lord, they’re running their con using the Zola System’s Rule of Three.


What I find most ironic is the Hedge Fund Class are letting themselves be fleeced twice for tickets to a football game.  I know Generation Y and perhaps most Generation Xers as well have no street smarts but this, money managers throwing money away is a sure sign the apocalypse is upon us.

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