SBD/March 14, 2012/Franchises

Mariners Report Operating Loss For Just Second Time Since Safeco Field Opened

The Mariners "have reported an operating loss for just the second time since Safeco Field opened in 1999," according to Larry Stone of the SEATTLE TIMES. A financial report from the Washington State Public Facilities District, which owns and oversees the ballpark, indicated that the Mariners' "net loss from business operations for fiscal year 2011 was $7,344,000." The team last year suffered from a last-place 67-95 record and record-low attendance of 1,896,936 at Safeco Field. Mariners Dir of Public Information Rebecca Hale said that the club "anticipated the loss because of flagging attendance, among other factors." The team "won't release season-ticket sales for 2012 until April or May, but Hale said attendance estimates 'probably will be adjusted downward from last year.'" Player payroll "is likely to decline as well." Hale said that the team also made a "'fairly substantial' capital investment in ballpark improvements." Stone notes $9M was spent for "new LED scoreboards and renovations to the Bullpen Market area." The Mariners' only other operating loss "occurred in 2008, a $4.5 million deficit." However, the Mariners and the WSPFD "have an agreed-upon 'special calculation' to determine the annual amount to be paid toward lowering the team's net loss of $200 million from the time the current ownership group purchased the team in 1995 until Safeco Field opened in the middle of the 1999 season." In '08, according to the "special calculation" formula, the Mariners' $4.5M deficit "was actually a $1.9 million profit" (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/14).

AFTER THESE MESSAGES: MLB.com's Greg Johns noted the Mariners released five new TV spots for the '12 season featuring players and members of the coaching staff that will begin airing during the team's Spring Training game against the Royals on Root Sports Northwest. The commercials have "become a huge part of the team's marketing popularity over the years, and players love taking part in the 30-second spots, which were filmed this spring in Peoria during the first days of training camp." This year's campaign was again created jointly by the Mariners and Seattle-based Copacino+Fujikado, with the commercials shot and directed by Washington-based Blue Goose Productions (MLB.com, 3/13). Mariners 2B Dustin Ackley said, "I'd seen the commercials the previous two years when I was here in spring training. I never thought I'd be in one, but now I am, it's a pretty cool thing" (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/14).
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