BOB: MLB.com En Fuego and Attendance Newsby Brian Borawski
April 29, 2009
MLB.com on fireOver three weeks of the season are now in the books and MLB.com has some impressive numbers to report. Subscriptions, website traffic and video streams are significantly higher than this time last year and the good news isn’t even limited to computer applications. MLB.com At Bat 2009, which is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, is one of the top-selling applications in Apple’s app store; more than 4.1 million video streams have been downloaded to mobile devices through the first three weeks.
What will be more telling is how this affects ad revenue. Outside of MLB.com At Bat and MLB.TV, there’s still a lot of free content, and if MLB Advanced Media can turn that into ad revenue, then it’ll be another good year for the website.
New Yankees ballpark has problems with expensive seatsNormally, if you build it, they will come. This is especially true for the New York Yankees, but this is a different year. With the current economic conditions, the Yankees have had some problems filling their pricey Legends Suite section. Through last week, only one of the six Yankees home game has seen the Legends Suite sell out, and it’s even more telling because these sections are highlighted on the television broadcast because of their excellent location.
It’s no big surprise because with people’s wallets hurting them, you won’t have a ton of turnout when the tickets cost as much as $2,625. What’s even more interesting is that you can find seats on Stubhub.com for less than the face value of these seats. This probably prompted the Yankees to cut some of their higher end ticket prices in half. You just wonder how long it’ll last if the Yankees heat up.
Tigers attendance not horribleIn a contrasting view, things don’t look as grim in Detroit. With the Tigers off to a decent start, attendance is down from the previous two years, but you have to put those in perspective because both of those were record-setting years. This year, the Tigers are averaging 26,850, and that’s the third-best average through five home games at Comerica Park. If they can keep that average, it’ll give them well over two million. I’m not sure that’ll pay for the Tigers' top-10 payroll, but it’ll at least make ownership think twice about gutting the team to save some money.
Pirates open headquarters and training complex in Dominican RepublicThis Thursday will mark the opening of the Pittsburgh Pirates brand new Dominican Republic-based Latin American headquarters and training complex. The brass will be in attendance for the opening and the main field will be dedicated to Pirates great Roberto Clemente.
Cardinals got it right with Busch StadiumA few ballparks have opened since, but the St. Louis Cardinals have had some consistent success at the third installment of Busch Stadium. They already have a World Series win there, and this year’s All Star game will be at Busch Stadium. The ballpark is highlighted in a great article by George Vecsey in an interesting story of modern meets historic. By sticking to the basics and keeping things affordable, the Cardinals may be putting themselves into a position to better weather the current economic storm.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.