SBD/July 9, 2013/Franchises

MLB Franchise Notes: Orioles' Metrics Surge, While Rays Still Not Drawing Fans

Orioles merchandise has more than doubled its market share since last year
In Baltimore, Childs Walker wrote the Orioles' on-field success since the start of the '12 season has "stirred something in Baltimore fans," who have "started to believe they're entering a new golden age for a franchise that was baseball's best from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s." Attendance is "up more than 13 percent at a time when it's down almost 4 percent across baseball." Orioles games are "the top-rated program in the Baltimore area for adults 18-49." SportsOneSource data shows that the club "owns 3.3 percent of the U.S. retail market for baseball merchandise, more than double its share through the same point last year." The Orioles are "back in Baltimore's bloodstream." Walker: "You can see it in the proliferation of orange 'O' stickers on city cars, hear it in workplace chats about last night's game." Fans "no longer talk about this as a plucky bunch of faceless youngsters." They have "formed powerful attachments to individual players" (Baltimore SUN, 7/6).

NO LOVE FOR SOX: In Boston, Eric Wilbur writes the Red Sox, despite being in first place in the AL East with 52 wins, are "consistently overshadowed" by news coming from the city's other pro teams. The degree "to which the Red Sox are ignored lately is significant." Although the team is "a bright spot in a Boston sports sea of heartbreak and crime, they just can not, for whatever reason, grab the headlines." The Red Sox have "become the [MLS] Revolution, haven't they? First place in the standings, fourth place in our hearts." Being a Red Sox fan in '13 is "like being a fan of vanilla ice cream. Or Nickelback" (BOSTON.com, 7/5).

NEW DEPTHS: In Tampa, John Romano noted the Rays, after finishing last in MLB attendance in '12, are "drawing fewer fans this season." Attendance is "down roughly 13 percent from the same point last year." The Rays have "already proven that a sharp ownership group and a quality team are not enough." Attendance is "not likely to grow magically, or even organically, in the next few years." It "might make sense to attack the problem when leverage is still our friend." Florida has "not turned out to be a baseball paradise, and we share in that blame." But "so do MLB leaders." If this is "truly a problem that needs fixing, they should be down here offering a helping hand" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 7/6).

MEET THE MRS.: Mets officials announced that the Mrs. Met mascot “will now be a regular fixture at Citi Field.” In N.Y., Gary Buiso notes Mrs. Met is “new to many,” but her origin dates “almost as far back as the team itself.” Mrs. Met, also “called Lady Met, was initially featured on pennants and other team souvenirs in cartoon form.” She first appeared “on the field in 1975” (N.Y. POST, 7/7).
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