SBD/Issue 84/Franchises

Mannion Says Economy Continues To Hurt Dodgers' Ticket Sales

Mannion Says McCourts' Divorce
Saga Not Impacting The Dodgers
Dodgers President Dennis Mannion yesterday said the economy is continuing to have a major impact on the club's ticket sales, and that fans are holding on to their money as long as possible before making a purchasing commitment, much like last year. The club to date has sold about 20,000 full-season equivalents for the '10 season, 16% below last year's base of 23,900. A deadline, however, is coming up tomorrow and the team still has a large group of fans who have said they want to renew their accounts but have not yet paid. "The purchasing patterns are very similar to last year," Mannion said. "On paper we're slightly ahead, but there are still a lot of those unpaid accounts." To that end, Mannion said the ongoing divorce saga of team Owner Frank and Jamie McCourt is not impacting the club, but instead the inability to firmly project revenue is. "We're not hamstrung (by ownership). If anything, we're more challenged by the economy. It's tougher to make a gamble on talent without knowing your revenues" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY: In L.A., Bill Shaikin noted the Dodgers have "yet to sign a major free agent" this offseason, but Mannion contends that they have "not been flooded with complaints about the team's offseason inactivity." Mannion: "I can honestly tell you we're not seeing any density of phone calls about the composition of the team. ... It's the economy. We have a very interesting baseball team. We have plenty of star power." Meanwhile, Mannion also said that the Dodgers will "impose a premium on single-game ticket prices for 28 popular games, including those against" the Angels and Yankees. The club has frozen prices on season tickets for this upcoming season, but has yet to announce prices for single-game tickets (LATIMES.com, 1/13).

STILL NOT CONCERNED ABOUT DIVORCE: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday reiterated that he is "unconcerned about the operation of the Dodgers" awaiting the McCourts' divorce trial, scheduled to begin in May. Selig: "I don't have any concern until I feel like I have something to be concerned about. We'll let the situation play out" (LATIMES.com, 1/13). ESPN's Tim Kurkjian noted the Dodgers are interested in signing free agent P Joel Pineiro, but they have to "figure out where they're going to get the money from" during the divorce proceedings. Kurkjian: "It's going to come eventually, I'm told. They're just not sure when the money from the divorce is going to arrive" ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 1/13). Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of the ownership situation, "That's more for our general manager because he has to deal with Frank McCourt and he's the one that really controls the purse strings." He said he hopes it "doesn't affect us, but ... it remains to be seen how it's going to affect our 2010 club" ("Tavis Smiley," PBS, 1/14).

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