SBD/March 11, 2013/Franchises

Indians' Dolan Calls '12 Season A Needed Shock; Ticket Sales Up After Offseason Moves

Ticket sales rose after the organization signed CF Michael Bourn in February
Indians Chair & CEO Paul Dolan said last season's "cataclysmic collapse" in which the team finished 68-94 was "a shock we needed," according to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Dolan said the '12 season was "the worst" he has endured in the 14 years his family has owned the franchise, and it "made it clear that we were not going in the right direction." He said of the team spending $116M on player payroll this offseason, "We heard it, we felt it. We knew we had to do something. The cycle was heading to the bottom and going to be at the bottom for some time. We couldn't wait another five years for the next wave of minor leaguers to come." He added the possibility of changing the top of the front office -- specifically President Mark Shapiro and GM Chris Antonetti -- was "never on the table." Dolan: "We have a high degree of confidence in them." Pluto noted the Indians last season drew "only 1,603,596 fans -- the second-lowest total since the team moved to Progressive Field." The team's season-ticket base "was barely above 5,000 not long after the season," but it is now "approaching 7,000." Ticket sales have "risen" since the Indians' offseason moves, "especially" after the signing of CF Michael Bourn. But Dolan said, "We have no expectations of covering the cost for this year. We will lose money." However, Dolan "views it as a 'long-term investment' in the franchise, something that had to be done." Meanwhile, he said the sale of SportsTime Ohio to FS Ohio has not been "reported correctly." He added that the deal is "paid out over a number of years." Dolan said, "The television money wasn't the only reason we made these moves, but it helped" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 3/10).
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