The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum posted a net loss of $2.08 million in 2011, according to its recently filed tax return, the eighth year in the red in the past decade for the baseball shrine.
The fiscal loss for the Cooperstown, N.Y.-based hall during the year ended Dec. 31, 2011, narrowed by 12 percent compared with the $2.36 million loss posted in 2010. Total revenue during the year grew 7 percent to $9.23 million, thanks in part to a boost in licensing royalties.
Admissions, the largest single chunk of the hall’s revenue, remains at a relatively low point. Hall attendance has stabilized over the last two years to about 270,000 annually, but that figure is far lower than the 400,000 a year that visited in the peak years of the late 1980s and early 1990s, or even the 301,755 from 2008.
Hall executives, however, said the institution’s financial outlook remains stronger than what is visible in the tax return. Nonprofit accounting guidelines call for multiyear, charitable contributions to be recorded in the year they are pledged. As a result, there are differences between what appears in the tax return, and what is actually happening in terms of operating cash flow.
“We understand the effect of visitorship and we are finding ways to broaden our reach, so we feel OK going forward,” said Brad Horn, the hall’s senior director of communications and education.
Recent hall initiatives include a new national education and outreach program called Be A Superior Example, encouraging youths to avoid performance-enhancing drugs and embrace proper nutrition and fitness habits.
The hall on Wednesday will announce the results of voting from the Baseball Writers Association of America for its 2013 inductees. The ballot is among the most hotly debated in the institution’s 76-year history because of the first-time appearance of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, three of the most accomplished players ever but also subjects of heavy suspicion regarding steroid use.
The election results will be shown live on MLB Network and MLB.com.
Jeff Idelson, hall president since early 2008, earned $362,678 in total compensation during 2011, up 2 percent from the year before.