Business of Baseball Reportby Brian Borawski
December 01, 2005
Mets' Spending Spree
This New York Mets fan and I thought the big money that the Mets have put out to acquire Carlos Delgado via trade and Billy Wagner via free agency were a result of the Mets' new income stream from their new regional sports network. It turns out we were only half right. SI.com’s Tom Verducci sets the record straight with an excellent column on the Mets, and he talks about how the Mets would be spending this money even if they didn’t have the regional sports network. He goes on to talk about how the Mets still won’t come close to the luxury tax threshold; they’re shedding close to $30 million in payroll in players they’re letting go, and they’re actually spending the money so they can improve the product that the regional sports network is selling.
Yankees, Dodgers Raise Ticket Prices
The New York Yankees were the third franchise in MLB history to top 4 million in attendance in 2005, and now they’re set to cash in at the turnstiles. The Yankees are going to raise the price of their best box seats by as much as $20. These “field championship seats” will sell for as much as $110. Only reserved seats in the upper deck and bleacher seats will cost as much as they did in 2005.
Unfortunately for Yankees fans, that’s nothing compared to how much they’ll have to dish out when the Yankees play in their proposed $800 million stadium that’s set to open in 2009. According to an environmental impact study that was commissioned by the New York City Economic Development Corp., fans would pay $57 on average to see the Yankees pay. This compares to the projected $45 average that would be paid if the Yankees continued to call Yankee Stadium their home.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are raising their average ticket price above $20 for the first time in team history despite coming off of one of their worst seasons in franchise history. The price increases will be as much as $5 per ticket for season tickets and up to $10 per ticket for single games. The Dodgers led the National League in attendance last year with 3.6 million fans.
Los Angeles Angels of ... Los Angeles
It’s been nearly a year since the legal battle between the city of Anaheim and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim began. With the two set to settle their differences in court on January 9, 2006, Angels owner Arte Moreno has stated that he feels like the city is trying to run him out of town. Moreno’s now gone as far as saying that if the lawsuit ends up in appeals court, he’d have to consider moving the team. The lawsuit has to do with the Angels' name change. The team has stated that they’ve met the provision of their lease with the city by including Anaheim in the team name while the city is contending that the name change violates their lease with the team.
While the Angels have made several settlement offers, neither side has been able to come to an agreement. According to Moreno, the only thing that would sway the city is if the Angels were to change their name back.
And you thought it was the politicians on their respective sides of the aisle who couldn’t agree on anything. Washington, D.C. made a request to the league that they pony up $20 million to help build the Washington Nationals' next stadium. MLB President Bob DuPuy refused the request, and he said that if the lease agreement isn’t reached by the end of the year, the whole matter will go to arbitration.
In case you missed it, Maury Brown did a great column on the most recent round of stadium debates. Be sure to check it out.
Where Will the Marlins Go?
With Florida Marlins team president David Samson informing the public that the team has secured permission from the league to relocate the Marlins, it appears that the list of prospective cities has dwindled since the Expos were looking to move out of Montreal. According to The Miami Herald, Las Vegas, Charlotte and Portland are the most likely suitors, although it appears that Charlotte might be out of the running because sports officials in the city don’t see public money for a new stadium anytime too soon, and that’s probably what it’ll take to lure the team.
Of course the other option would be that the Marlins stay pat, but they’ll probably go through the relocation motions until they can get the money they need for a new stadium. Also, be sure to check out John Brattain's column last week about the Marlins and their relocation threat.
Busch Stadium Demolition Ahead of Schedule
With an intial deadline of late June, 2006, the demolition of Busch Stadium appears to be ahead of schedule by as many as three months. The south section of the stadium has already been taken down and it’s expected that half of the job will be finished by early January, 2006. The south end of the stadium needs to be take down because a street will be constructed that will eventually be the northern boundary of new Busch Stadium. And with the demoltion ahead of schedule, the St. Louis Cardinals are saying they’ll have everything ready, including the new stadium, for opening day on April 10, 2006.
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.