You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

As John Oliver Pointed Out, the Yankees Could Use a Little Lesson in Humility -- and Customer Loyalty Those running the elite -- and very expensive -- Legends Club at Yankee Stadium learned a lesson last week too.

By Peter Gasca

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Yankee Stadium Legends Club

Anyone who has had the privilege of staying in a luxury suite, flying business or first class or having VIP access to an event knows that these perks can be really nice. From the business side, providing these perks are a great way of showing your appreciation to your best customers and encouraging brand loyalty.

That is, until those perks start to alienate all of your other customers.

Related: Fancy Perks Won't Get You Top Talent

Case in point, this past week on Last Week Tonight, show host John Oliver ridiculed the New York Yankees professional baseball club for their Yankee's Legends Club, an exclusive and private members-only club reserved for the wealthiest baseball fans with perks including seating in the first five rows, all-inclusive fine dining options, in-seat wait service (with cushioned suite seats), personal concierge service and private entrance -- just to name a few.

All of this sounds great, but it can also sound quite elitist. The problem arises when your staff, and in particular your leadership, cannot discern the difference between your customer base.

For example, in February, Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost appeared as a guest on a popular New York radio show in an attempt to discuss and quell fan outrage that resulted when the Yankees announced that tickets could no longer be printed at home. The move was originally meant to "further combat fraud and counterfeiting of tickets associated with print-at-home paper tickets," according to the Yankee's website.

During his interview, however, Trost undiplomatically said what most people probably believed -- the Yankees do not want to bother wealth fans with regular fans.

"The problem below market at a certain point is that if you buy a ticket in a very premium location and pay a substantial amount of money," Trost said, "it's not that we don't want that fan to sell it, but that fan is sitting there having paid a substantial amount of money for a ticket and (another) fan picks it up for a buck-and-a-half and sits there, and it's frustrating to the purchaser of the full amount."

And if that was unclear, Trost clarified by saying, "And quite frankly, the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that's a frustration to our existing fan base."

Related: Farewell Derek Jeter, a True Role Model and Leader

So, evidently the Yankees value the concerns of a small handful of wealthy Yankee fans ("existing fan base") over the tens of thousands of "non-wealthy" fans who would rather sit in hard, uncomfortable seats and feast on American hot dogs and overpriced beer.

On a side note, it was always my understanding that you had to be wealthy just to afford a regular ticket to Yankee Stadium.

In the end, the Yankees are a business, and good one at that, with one of the most recognizable and valuable brands on the planet. They have no shortage of money, evidenced by their $2.3 billion stadium and their talent payroll, one of the highest in baseball. And yet even with all of this money, it just turns out that they just are incapable of connecting with ordinary customers.

So, as the Yankees attempt to limit the ability of "riff raff" to mingle with Yankee elites, continuing to be, as Oliver puts it, the "biggest, elitist assholes in all of sports," it may just turn out that they have enough clout to weather the storm.

Related: 9 Sales Lessons For Entrepreneurs From a Baseball Pro

In an entertaining side note, Oliver and his producers purchased two Legends Club seats for three games at Yankee stadium, then held a contest on Twitter asking fans to tweet a photo of themselves in what they would wear if they sat in the premium seats. Oliver then chose the winners and sold them the tickets for 25 cents.

The results were classic.

Peter Gasca

Management and Entrepreneur Consultant

Peter Gasca is an author and consultant at Peter Paul Advisors. He also serves as Executive-in-Residence and Director of the Community and Business Engagement Institute at Coastal Carolina University. His book, One Million Frogs', details his early entrepreneurial journey.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Business News

This Fan-Favorite Masters 2024 Item Is Still $1.50 as Tournament Menu Appears Unscathed by Inflation

The pimento cheese sandwich is a tradition almost as big as the tournament itself.

Making a Change

Learn to Play Guitar Even if You Have No Previous Training for Just $20

Start with the beginner's crash course and learn how to play guitar in no time.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Here's One Thing Americans Would Take a Pay Cut For — Besides Remote Work

An Empower survey found a high percentage of respondents would take a pay cut for better retirement benefits and remote work options.