New Venue Gives Marlins Revenue Stream To Consistently Compete With Other MLB Clubs
Marlins Park, with its "rain-beating retractable roof and air conditioning, has given the Marlins a chance, that’s all," according to Greg Cote of the MIAMI HERALD. Cote: "And that’s everything." It has given the team "no guarantee but a fair, fighting chance to be a flourishing, permanent thing." It has "taken away every excuse" of Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria’s for why his player payrolls "were embarrassingly low shoestring budgets all those years, why the club could not consistently produce winning, contending teams." Cote wrote, "I think it is time for the new stadium’s old critics and doubters and fault-finders to find a mute button now and let a full, cheering stadium be the sound that takes over" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/25). In Miami, Clark Spencer noted that when fans file into the 37,000-seat retractable-roof Marlins Park for the season opener April 4, Loria is "hoping they’ll find not just a traditional field of grass and dirt for baseball, but also a playground for the imagination." Loria said, "It’s part of what I wanted to see happen in the ballpark, where people get to use their eyes, see things they might not ordinarily see, and to have an experience that goes along with baseball." Marlins LF Logan Morrison said, "I like the colors, the brightness. The other stadiums have bright colors, but not as bright as this one. I don’t think there’s another city like Miami, so I think it’s pretty fitting." Spencer noted while bright, "dynamic colors run rampant throughout the ballpark, the one place where none is found is the training room for players." It was painted white "for a reason -- to make it as dull as possible." Marlins President David Samson said, “We don’t want players hanging out in there. There are some training rooms that have lounge chairs and huge televisions. We want players coming in here, getting their work done, and getting out” (MIAMI HERALD, 3/25).
TRAFFIC REPORT: Also, in Miami, Manny Navarro noted for weeknight games, fans who do not purchase one of the 5,700 on-site parking spaces around Marlins Park will be "searching for a spot nearby while fighting through rush-hour traffic." Miami Parking Authority CEO Art Noriega expects "the learning curve" to last only a couple weeks. He said that fans eventually will "figure out their 'own system' for getting to and from Marlins Park faster." Noriega added, "The same growing pains we experienced when the old arena opened up downtown and then AmericanAirlines Arena, that’s what we’re going to experience here. ... You can’t just plop a facility that size, bring that many cars in and not appreciate the fact the customers are going to experience a little bit of a learning curve, and the operators and police are going to learn through the experience. I think a few weeks into the season things will really, really settle down" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/25).
NEWFOUND FUNDS: In Ft. Lauderdale, Juan Rodriguez noted the Marlins' "projected Opening Day payroll is $93,213,000, about $31.3 million more" than their final '11 payroll of $61,940,280. Since the Orioles moved from Memorial Stadium to Oriole Park at Camden Yards in '92, 18 baseball teams "have built new facilities." None increased payroll "more than the Marlins as they began play at those high revenue-generating homes." Samson said that the Marlins "expect to have at least 15,000 season tickets" sold by the start of the season, which would "put them in the top third of baseball." Asked if the Marlins sold the fewest season tickets of any team last season, Samson said, "We weren't last. Last was so far ahead of us. We don't even count enough. We were three standard deviations from last." Samson added, "We project we're going to be selling season tickets through May, which is something we've never been able to do. We would probably cap it at 18,000 and start a waiting list" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/25).
MIAMI SOUND MACHINE: The Marlins on Friday "announced four of the season's six headliners" for the team's new Jiffy Lube Friday Night Live concert series coming to Marlins Park each month. Reggae singer Daddy Yankee will perform April 13 after the Astros-Marlins to kick off the concert series. On May 11, rapper LL Cool J will perform after the Mets-Marlins game, and following the Rays-Marlins June 8 matchup, reggae duo Chino y Nacho will take the stage. Rapper Flo Rida will perform July 13 following the Nationals-Marlins game (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 3/23).