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Volume 23 No. 17
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After losses, baseball HOF hopeful

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum posted a net loss of $1.46 million for 2013, according to its recently filed federal tax return, the 10th year in the red over the past 12 years for the baseball shrine. The hall, however, is looking forward to a sizable influx of revenue from its highly successful commemorative coin program with the U.S. Mint.

The fiscal loss for the Cooperstown, N.Y.-based hall during the year ended Dec. 31, 2013, narrowed by 52 percent, compared with a net loss of $3.06 million in 2012. Total revenue grew by 21 percent to $10.1 million.

A star-studded induction class, including Greg Maddux, boosted baseball HOF attendance in 2014.
Fundraising and charitable contributions grew from $2.04 million in 2012 to $3.7 million last year, and hall executives said future exhibitions prompted the spike in donor activity. Nonprofit accounting guidelines call for multiyear, charitable contributions to be recorded in the year they are pledged, as opposed to when they are received.

That increase, however, pales in comparison to what will be recorded in the 2014 return from the hall’s commemorative coin program. The first set of curved coins issued in U.S. Mint history, a series of gold, silver and clad coins marking the hall’s 75th anniversary, has generated $7.8 million in surcharges thus far for the institution. The sum is nearly equal to a year’s revenue for the hall. The coins, meanwhile, have been a hit in collecting and resale circles.

The hall has also begun to reverse an extended attendance slide that will be reflected in future tax returns. After attendance fell to 253,000 in 2013, the lowest mark since the mid-1980s, final 2014 numbers are expected to finish around 292,000, fueled in part by a large and popular induction class that included Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox. Induction Weekend this past July by itself drew more than 48,000 people, the third-highest such draw ever for the event and the largest since 2007.

The hall on Tuesday will announce the results of voting from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for its 2015 inductees. Another stacked ballot of candidates this year includes Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, and holdovers such as Craig Biggio, who fell just two votes short of induction last year.

Several other forthcoming initiatives also suggest a potential resurgence for the hall, including a relaunched website that debuted this past fall, a new mobile application scheduled for release early this year and a national exhibition tour announced last summer and slated for 2016. The tour, developed in partnership with MLB Advanced Media, IMAX Corp., Creative Artists Agency and Boston Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner, will involve a mobile IMAX theater traveling around the country showcasing the hall’s collections and historical baseball footage, as well as other interactive and digital elements.

Jeff Idelson, hall president since early 2008, earned $376,189 in total compensation during 2013, up 4 percent from the prior year.