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SBD/August 27, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan yesterday "took issue" with a report from Forbes magazine that stated the team is "on track to make" $99M in operating income this season, according to Reid Laymance of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Ryan, without offering a figure to counter the report, said, "We’re going to have expenses that are higher than our revenues, and that doesn’t make (the team) profitable. ... There is no doubt that the numbers are wrong in the Forbes article. If they were right, I’d look like the guy who had done the best job in three months ever (since taking the job in May). The fact is that the numbers are wrong" (CHRON.com, 8/26). FORBES.com's Dan Alexander in the original report wrote under the header, "2013 Houston Astros: Baseball's Worst Team Is The Most Profitable In History." The Astros have "become so profitable thanks to slashed payroll expenses and soaring television revenues." The Astros opened this season with an MLB-low $26M active payroll "and have since cut it to under" $13M. Alexander reported Comcast SportsNet Houston pays the Astros $80M a year, and the team brings in nearly $40M "from other television and radio deals" (FORBES.com, 8/26).
OFFICIAL DENIAL: The Astros last night released a statement that read in part, "As MLB will confirm, the information reported in the Forbes article relating to the Astros' revenues, the Astros media rights fee from CSN Houston, and CSN Houston's per subscriber rate are all significantly inaccurate. As a result, the conclusion about the Astros operational profit is significantly inaccurate." The statement continued, "As our young prospects develop, we will move them up to the Major League roster and increase our payroll to a level that will allow the Astros to compete for World Championships. The success of CSN Houston is a vital piece of that process and we continue to work toward establishing full distribution" (Astros). The Dallas Morning News' Tim Cowlishaw said Astros GM Jeff Luhnow "knows what he's doing," adding the team has "a great farm system and now they can build and make even more money.” ESPN’s J.A. Adande: “It’s like ‘The Producers': Sometimes there’s more money to be made in a flop than in a hit” (“Around the Horn,” ESPN, 8/26).
The Twins' season-ticket prices for '14 will "remain unchanged for a third consecutive season," according to Dennis Brackin of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Twins President Dave St. Peter said that market research indicated that the team "might have been able to raise season prices 'in certain areas,' based partly on the club hosting the 2014 All-Star Game and the perks season-ticket holders receive for that game." St. Peter: "But based on our struggles on the field, we felt it was in the best interests not only for our team, but ultimately a tip of the cap to our fans to leave prices where they’re at." Brackin notes next year's All-Star Game is "the centerpiece" of a season-ticket renewal drive. Ticket priority for the event "will be based on several factors, including season-ticket tenure, size of ticket play (premium, full-season, 40- or 20-game) and number of tickets held" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/27).