Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 22 No. 3
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Spike in donations keys record revenue for Baseball Hall of Fame

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., recorded all-time bests in both revenue and profit in 2017, according to the institution’s recently filed federal tax return, with the sums boosted heavily by two major seven-figure donations.

The net profit of $11.99 million for the year ending Dec. 31, 2017, soared well past the 2016 figure of $250,366. Results this decade have been mixed, including profits as high as $7.81 million (2014) and fiscal losses of as much as $3.06 million (2012). The hall’s revenue of $24 million for 2017 also nearly doubled the 2016 revenue figure of $12.24 million. Last year’s numbers are challenged in recent years only by 2007’s marks of $20.79 million in revenue and a $7.82 million profit.

The baseball shrine’s annual attendance has stayed relatively static in recent years, at around 275,000. The same is true for gross receipts from admissions and merchandise, at roughly $11.4 million per year.

But the hall’s donations nearly quintupled from $3.13 million in 2016 to $15.25 million last year. Nonprofit accounting guidelines call for multiyear charitable contributions to be recorded in the year in which they are pledged, as opposed to when they are received. The 2017 return in particular showed a gift of $9.57 million, and another for $3 million. The tax return did not list the identities of those donors.

Last year’s induction class of six, led in part by popular former Detroit Tigers teammates Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, drew an estimated crowd of 53,000, the second-largest ever. The next two years could challenge that mark, as they are expected to include former New York Yankees icons Mariano Rivera in 2019 and Derek Jeter in 2020.

The selection of the 2019 class will begin Dec. 9 with the results of the Today’s Game Era Ballot. The Baseball Writers Association of America ballot results will be announced on Jan. 22.