SBD/Issue 132/Franchises

Tigers Need Solid Season To Attract More Fans, Boost Revenue

Tigers Season-Ticket Sales Drop As Economy
In Michigan Struggles
The Tigers' ticket sales this season are "awful, making it even more important that Detroit starts its season strongly," according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com. If the Tigers "get off to a terrible start, as they did last season, fan interest in the team -- already impacted by the economy -- will take a body blow." The Tigers "don't have that kind of margin for error." They "need to spark interest in the team immediately to lure fans to buy tickets." The team has "one of the highest payrolls" in MLB and "will need to pay that off" (ESPN.com, 3/26). The Detroit Free Press' Jon Paul Morosi said there has been a "pretty big drop" in Tigers season-ticket sales this season as the "economy in Michigan has been struggling even longer than even the national economy, which has had a big impact." Morosi said Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch has "not ordered any dramatic reductions in payroll, and for the foreseeable future, this team will remain one of the higher payroll teams" in the AL ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 3/26).

MONEY BALL: In Detroit, Lynn Henning wrote with the Tigers required to finalize their 25-man roster next week, Ilitch "should decree that roster decisions in no way be influenced by money." Ilitch "can acknowledge that it was a mistake for" Tigers President, CEO & GM Dave Dombrowski to extend the contracts of Ps Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis, but "what matters is not the $39[M] Ilitch owes two pitchers for the next two seasons. What matters is winning." Ilitch "must emphasize that neither money, nor the extensions, nor Dombrowski's desire to yet make two contracts look valid, can influence for one moment the team's decisions" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/26).

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