MLB Officials: Marlins Reduced Payroll Because Of Significant Stadium Revenue Overestimation
Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria chose to cut payroll by more than $60M this off-season because the Marlins "dramatically overestimated their revenue at Marlins Park, largely because they expected much higher attendance," according to two MLB officials cited by Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. One MLB official said that the Marlins "told people they overestimated stadium revenue by a whopping $40 million." The organization "expected per-game attendance would be 33,000 to 35,000," instead paid attendance was "announced at 27,400." That "ranked 18th in baseball and was worst for a first-year ballpark in the modern era." Moreover, the figure actually was "a bit lower because some people got in free, including using tickets given away by MLB." And the number of people who "actually showed up to games was, on average, 17,000." Season-ticket sales were "widely reported at 15,000," but that is "not true." The Marlins "actually sold 12,000 season tickets and will be fortunate to reach 7,000 in 2013." Because attendance was "much lower than expected, concessions and merchandise revenue fell far below expectations." The Marlins were "required to pay the county $10 for 5,000 parking spaces every game," with parking being "included in prices for season ticket holders." The organization "expected to make a modest profit," but instead it "had to cover the cost of a lot of empty spots and ended up losing $300,000 on parking." The team's new ESPN/Fox/TBS TV deals will "deliver twice as much annual revenue as the old deal, which should theoretically give the Marlins a reason to boost payroll in 2014." However, Loria has not "told his people if he will" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 1/15).