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Even in retirement, Derek Jeter draws the most fans

Recent sales figures from StubHub show The Captain is still in record-high demand

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

We have reached Jeter Night as the Yankees and their fans prepare to celebrate the retirement of the last remaining single digit pinstriped number.

Yankee Stadium is sure to be packed tonight to honor The Captain. In fact, number two is number one in StubHub sales this season, ranking as the most in-demand game of the 2017 season, according to ticket sales of the world’s largest ticket marketplace.

The game itself is an intriguing one given the surprising start the Yankees have had, and the fact that the Astros seem to be living up to their World Series-caliber expectations. Still, this isn’t a Yankees/Red Sox or Dodgers/Giants game, yet this regular season game in May still stands above any game this season, including Opening Day games. It all points back to Jeter.

This was a trend that started before Jeter hung up his cleats. His unforgettable final game at Yankee Stadium in 2014 remains the best-selling MLB regular season game of all time on StubHub. It is also the second highest selling regular season game in StubHub history of any sport, coming behind the last game of another sports legend’s career, Kobe Bryant.

Clearly, fans love to say farewell and honor their heroes that have left a lasting impact on their teams. For many regular season games, the game itself is an afterthought. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the crowd at Yankee Stadium tonight file out after the ceremonies conclude. Almost everyone in attendance will be their for Jeter. Being able to watch a baseball game at the Stadium is just an added bonus.

Baseball is a sport that rests on its historical and nostalgic laurels, for better or worse. Past legends are marketed as much as current stars are. After all, the second highest in-demand game this season is David Ortiz’s retirement ceremony against the Angels on June 23rd. Still, the sales for Jeter night are more than triple that of the Ortiz ceremony.

So what does it all mean? Well, as has been reiterated for the entirety of Jeter Week, The Captain is baseball’s favorite son, and is clearly appreciated around the league, especially in New York. Despite the excitement of the Baby Bombers and the upward trend of the Yankee franchise, Jeter remains a hot ticket for fans to think back fondly on the countless memories he provided for them.

Fans realize that a career like Jeter’s may never be replicated again, and empty their wallets at the opportunity to honor The Captain. Heck, I’m sure I’ll be walking around the Yankees Team Store tonight and throwing around cash like I was a character in “Wolf of Wall Street.” As much as I know how much of a marketing ploy a lot of this can be, I still can’t seem to help myself. I love Jeter, and clearly, so does almost everybody else.

These sales figures from StubHub could foreshadow a trend in baseball in the years to come. The Yankees already follow a blueprint to capitalize on these sales numbers. They retired Mariano Rivera’s number before he retired in 2013, and had a Monument Park plaque ceremony for him last season. I’m sure we will have another Jeter ceremony after he is inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox could follow the same path with Ortiz after seeing his ceremony game as the second-highest selling game this season. It would certainly be first if there was no Jeter ceremony this season. Teams can take a look at these numbers and realize that an opportunity to celebrate a former team legend will guarantee a filled stadium for at least a night.

These figures also solidify the obvious: Derek Jeter is one of the most beloved players in baseball history, and tonight is the latest attempt to provide him a proper thank you.