SBD/August 10, 2012/Franchises

Indians CEO Dolan Expects "Substantial" Financial Loss After Team's Midseason Collapse

Indians budgeted for financial loss this season, but will now be greater with collapse
The Indians' collapse this season "will hurt ticket sales for 2013," and is "devastating to the franchise, which is still trying to win back the confidence of the fans," according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. The Indians, who on Tuesday snapped an 11-game losing streak, "rank last in MLB average attendance at 20,321," which is "not enough to hit their projection of 1.7 million." Indians Chair & CEO Paul Dolan said, "The next few weeks will be very telling. But we understand the losing streak will have a negative effect on attendance for the remainder of the year. We had budgeted a substantial loss for this year. It is likely to be greater than we expected. We can handle it." On July 26, the day before the 11-game losing streak began, the team was within 3 1/2 games of first place in the AL Central. Dolan said, "That was probably the most disappointing stretch of baseball in our tenure (as owners). It was so dismal. It changed the entire season. We had an opportunity to make up some ground in attendance. We were set up for a drive to the playoffs." The team's payroll is $71M, which ranks 26th in the league. The "average MLB payroll" is $105M. When asked how the Indians are doing financially this season, Dolan said, "Not particularly good." He added, "Payroll decisions are off-season decisions and are dependent on a multitude of factors, many of them unknown to us today. Nonetheless, there is no expectation the payroll for next year will be substantially different from prior years." Dolan also said, "The franchise is not for sale." But he added that he was "open to 'minority investors,' but so far none have appeared" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/10).
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