Proposed drive-in movies wouldn’t affect games at Yankee Stadium (UPDATE)

Yankee Stadium

An empty Yankee Stadium during the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, May 14, 2020.

UPDATE (1:21 p.m.): A parking lot near Yankee Stadium being used for proposed drive-in movie events wouldn’t affect whether games would be played at Yankee Stadium or whether fans would attend them, a person with knowledge of the club’s thinking told NJ Advance Media on Thursday afternoon.

By the looks of it, there won’t be many (if any) Yankees fans at games at Yankee Stadium this summer — if they even play there.

A parking lot near Yankee Stadium is scheduled to host drive-in movies every weekend starting in July. Called Uptown Drive-In Experience, it will be run by MASC Hospitality Group and will feature live performances, car-side dinner services, a movie, games and more, the event’s website said.

“Anticipating the reopening process in NYC,” the website said, “we’ve been working on the idea of an Uptown Drive-In Experience since late March. We have created a social distancing playground to serve as the first step to normalization and made it right here in our beloved Bronx.”

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MASC Hospitality Group didn’t immediately respond to messages sent by NJ Advance Media.

Time Out New York’s Collier Sutter first reported the news.

As part of its coronavirus restart plan, MLB has planned to give teams the option to either host spring training and the regular season in their home cities or at their spring training sites.

The Yankees host spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. The stadium is also across the street from the team’s player development complex. Steinbrenner Field underwent $40 million in renovations before the 2018 season.

Before the Yankees can play any games, though, MLB owners and players have to agree on how to restart spring training. The sides are currently negotiating health protocols, but the bigger sticking point is expected to be player compensation. Players argue that owners should uphold their March agreement to pay them their full salaries on a prorated basis per game played, but owners want a 50-50 revenue split.

The Yankees have been quiet as to whether they would play in the Bronx or in Tampa, but president Randy Levine has said repeatedly that while teams could play some home games without fans, ultimately they would need some fans in the stands to recoup losses in gate sales.

“Gate is really, really important — the gate and everything associated with it,” Levine said in an interview with 1010 WINS radio. “And so, you know, the economics are troubling. Sports is a trillion-dollar industry that employs millions of people. Not only the people that work in the stadiums, the buildings, but hospitality, [the media], apparel. So we need to get going. But we need to do it in a safe way.

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Brendan Kuty may be reached at bkuty@njadvancemedia.com. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.

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