The Yankees have since issued a statement vowing support for their Bronx community, saying the team and Major League Baseball are working with Nike to fix a deal that could hurt small businesses outside their stadium.
CONCOURSE, the Bronx — A new contract between Nike and Major League Baseball has become controversial for the Bronx community surrounding Yankee Stadium, with Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. speaking out about the implications it’d have on local business.
The agreement only allows the sale of official league merchandise at Nike “premium distribution points”, and therefore, would prevent several local retailers from selling Yankees merchandise outside of the stadium, which accounts for the vast majority of their revenue, according to Diaz.
The borough president identified eight family-owned retailers that’d be barred from selling official Yankees merchandise at their storefronts in the Concourse section of the Bronx.
“If these eight businesses can no longer sell official Yankees merchandise they will be forced to close, and the area surrounding the stadium will be a ghost town,” said Diaz.
“These eight businesses have been selling official merchandise for decades, and are the core of the business district surrounding the stadium. Preventing them from continuing to do just that devastate the economy in the area surrounding the stadium and put 100 people out of work. This is totally unacceptable.”
The businesses — Ballpark Sports, D & J Variety, Home Plate, Pinstripe Collectibles, Sammy’s, S & A Sports, Stadium Souvenirs and Stan’s Sports World — employ 100 people and represent millions of dollars in economic activity annually, the borough president said.
He also called into question the promises made when taxpayer dollars were used to fund the stadium.
“Taxpayers spent a great deal of money building the Yankees their new stadium, he said. “It is incumbent on the team to intervene on behalf of these eight businesses and get them grandfathered in to this new agreement, given their long history of selling official merchandise.”
According to Diaz, $1.2 billion in taxpayer money was used to build the new Yankee Stadium.
“It is time for the New York Yankees to step up to the plate and be a good neighbor. Failing to do so will cloud the team’s relationship with the surrounding community for decades to come.”