SBD/Issue 16/Franchises

MLB’s Vital Signs Look Strong As ’05 Regular Season Ends

MLB concluded its regular season yesterday and the league’s TV ratings “have been strong” while its Internet properties “are robust,” according to Jeff Blair of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. The league set a single-season attendance record with four days remaining, though the increase “was fuelled chiefly by growth in the larger cities and by moving the Expos to [DC]. Beyond that, half of baseball’s 30 teams went into the final weekend staring at attendance decreases, and questions remain about the long-term viability of” the D’Rays and Marlins. The issue of steroids “provided the backdrop to the 2005 season and will continue to do so now that the attention of the national media will focus on the game” (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/3).

Adding High-Priced Talent Does Not
Lead To Playoffs For Some Teams
CAN’T BUY ME PLAYOFFS: In Atlanta, Tim Tucker noted none of the four teams that “set the pace in last winter’s spending binge” — the D’Backs, Dodgers, Mariners and Mets –-made the postseason. Braves President Terry McGuirk, on last winter’s spending: “We were horrified — as was the commissioner, as were many of the owners.” McGuirk added, “The efficiency of the dollars spent for performance received is maybe the lowest in the last five years. Just abysmal” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/2).

AROUND THE HORN: With the season coming to a close, THE DAILY presents a round-up of news from MLB franchises:

ANGELS: USA TODAY’s Jorge Ortiz writes of the Angels, “What used to be an undistinguished club forever in the shadow of [the Dodgers] has become a model franchise.” Angels P Jarrod Washburn said signing big-name free agents and having a stable coaching staff and owner “really opens players’ eyes around the league and they say, ‘Hey, looks like a place where I want to play’” (USA TODAY, 10/3). In a separate piece, Ortiz notes the city of Anaheim, which is suing the Angels over their name change, is “manifesting support for the team in message boards and banners, issuing a proclamation and encouraging employees to wear red,” though a city news release on Friday “repeatedly referred to the team” as the “Anaheim Angels” (USA TODAY, 10/3).

City Of Anaheim Supporting Angels
Despite Pending Lawsuit
BLUE JAYS: In Toronto, Larry Millson reports the Blue Jays sold 2,014,995 tickets in ’05, marking the third consecutive year attendance has increased and the first time since ’99 that the club has surpassed two million. There is also a “possibility of the payroll being bumped to about” $80M next season from the $50M area “where it has hovered in recent years” (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/3).

D’RAYS: In St. Petersburg, Marc Topkin reports the agreement for D’Rays Managing General Partner Vince Naimoli to hand control of the team to General Partner Stuart Sternberg “has been finalized.” Naimoli “will retain a title and perhaps an office.” One of Sternberg’s first moves “is expected to be the dismissal of” GM Chuck LaMar (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/3). Also in St. Petersburg, John Romano writes, “It is difficult to overstate the importance of this transaction. ... For the first time in years, there is a chance for reconciliation between a franchise and a community” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/3). Meanwhile, the D’Rays finished last in MLB in attendance this season for the first time, drawing just 1,141,669, the third-smallest figure in club history. The D’Rays were last in the AL for the fifth straight season (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 10/3).

GIANTS: The Giants’ final attendance of 3,181,023 was their lowest in six seasons (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/3).

MARINERS: In Seattle, Bob Finnigan reports the Mariners, despite a 69-93 record, ranked fourth in the AL in attendance with 2,725,459, or 33,648 per game, trailing only the Yankees (50,502), Angels (42,033) and Red Sox (35,167) (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/3). But also in Seattle, Larry Stone notes average attendance has fallen 10,000 per game, or nearly 25%, since ’01. Season tickets have dropped from 21,000 to 17,000 (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/3).

Loria Declines To Discuss
Marlins’ Financial Losses
MARLINS: Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria declined to specify how much money the team will lose this season, saying, “If I tell you, I’ll be on the ground horizontally. It’s not pretty” (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 10/1). Loria, on the team’s quest for a new ballpark: “I keep hearing people say we don’t need a roof. We do need a roof. ... Would you be happy having your office outside on the lawn? You can’t run a business out in the lawn, and the same thing goes for a baseball team” (PALM BEACH POST, 10/1). In Ft. Lauderdale, Rodriguez & Berardino note Marlins manager Jack McKeon resigned following Sunday’s game, but he will remain as a special advisor to Loria “unless he’s offered another managerial job” (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 10/3).

METS: The Mets’ final attendance of 2,829,929 was their largest since ’89 (Adam Rubin, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/3).

PIRATES: Pirates Managing General Partner Kevin McClatchy in a letter in newspaper ads and on the team’s Web site stated the club’s ’06 payroll will increase to the “upper $40[M] range,” and in Pittsburgh, Dejan Kovacevic noted that would represent an increase of $11-14M. McClatchy said that the decision “was based mostly on the 15[%] rise in attendance” from 1.58 million to 1.8 million. He added that the unspent $5M from the club’s self-imposed limit of $40M this season “is being counted” toward next year. McClatchy: “Anybody who’s out there saying we intentionally tried not to spend money, quite frankly, has no idea what they’re talking about” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 10/2).

RANGERS: In Ft. Worth, Kathleen O’Brien reports the Rangers’ attendance this season was 2,525,221, up from 2,513,685 in ’04. However, average attendance was down because the club had 80 home dates with one double-header in ‘05 compared to 79 home dates with two double-headers last year. Rangers Owner Tom Hicks said that revenues “were up marginally,” while President Jeff Cogen added that it was “a profitable year” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/3). In Dallas, Richard Durrett notes the Rangers’ season-ticket and group-sales numbers were up in ’05. Cogen: “We lost the momentum from last season starting in July. You have to sell tickets a certain way whether the team’s winning or losing. We didn’t do a good enough job” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/3).

REDS: In Cincinnati, John Fay reported the Reds’ attendance of 1,943,157 was down 344,093 from ’04 and was the lowest since ’02, the year before the team moved into Great American Ball Park. With the “drop in attendance and [$15.2M] rise in payroll, [the Reds] are likely to lose money this year.” The team’s payroll was $61.8M at the beginning of this season, and GM Dan O’Brien said of ’06, “Early indications are it will be in the neighborhood of where we are now” (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/1).

YANKEES: In N.Y., Murray Chass noted Yankees VP & Special Advisor to the General Partners Gene Michael has been “shut out of personnel and scouting matters” in favor of VP/Scouting Damon Oppenheimer. The “prevailing view” is that Yankees Owner George Steinbrenner gave Oppenheimer the assignment “because Oppenheimer wanted it and because the Tampa office, where friction has developed with Michael, believed that it could do a better job. In addition, Steinbrenner was more comfortable with his Tampa people and had grown uncomfortable with Michael” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/2).

Return to top
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug