Monetary Policy

Baseball attendance from 2000-2008, according to the site "Ballparks of Baseball":

  • 2000: 72.7M
  • 2001: 72.6M
  • 2002: 67.8M
  • 2003: 67.6M
  • 2004: 72.9M
  • 2005: 74.4M
  • 2006: 76.0M
  • 2007: 79.4M
  • 2008: 78.6M

Does anyone else wonder how the economic meltdown is going to impact 2009 attendance numbers?  I certainly do.  As a business owner I know about cutbacks in staff and reductions in general operational costs, how it is trickling down from the overall world to me and then to my employees, how it impacts disposable income and spending habits.  A big question, which all baseball owners must be considering, is how much and for how long this might impact their game, financially speaking.  Based on the magnitude of the financial problems facing our country, growing unemployment, and other factors, I don't see how this won't have a substantial impact on next season and perhaps 2010.  Though baseball (and major sport) is certainly an escape and a form of entertainment that has an ability to distract us from reality, it isn't immune from a contraction in spending.  Going to a baseball game, at this point, is certainly a luxury, even when sitting in the cheapies.

I further wonder how this might be impacting free-agent signings — not just the big name free agents but moreso the upper-middle, middle, and lower tier players. 

Thoughts welcome in the comments of course.

5 comments… add one

  • I would point out that there are fewer and fewer “cheapies” to be had in NY—although that might have to change.
    Team’s are also faced with cutbacks in stadium advertising revenue, as the Yanks learned when GM cut out of their sponsorship deal with the team last week.

    YF December 18, 2008, 11:57 am
  • I think the biggest economic impact is on the other revenue streams – advertising in particular. NASCAR is taking a huge hit. Attendance, although good income, is really a small drop in the collective income for teams. Merchandising will be down, consessions, advertising, corporate sponsorships. I think those are the bigger concern for the owners.

    dw (sf) December 18, 2008, 1:14 pm
  • I took a look at gate revenue – for simplicity, took the average ticket cost at Fenway, and multiplied by attendance (I know, gate receipts are split with visiting teams). The figure would have come in lower than their MLB payroll figure.
    I doubt that the average price takes into account the luxury boxes (corporate) – which is where the pintch will really be felt IMO

    dw (sf) December 18, 2008, 1:32 pm
  • Two of my clients have suites at Fenway and neither one has any plan to ever change that, short of them going out of business. I’m curious to know what other suite holders are doing. I might be off base here, but it was my understanding that there were plenty of companies in line to take any possible vacant suites. This is, of course, Fenway and therefore not indicative of the rest of baseball. I could be wrong though.
    I think baseball in general is going to take a huge hit next year. The casual fan might not go at all and the die hard fans might cut their games in half or more.
    I just got back from the Yawkey Team Store and hour ago and it was DEAD. I asked the woman how the holiday season had been so far and she said it’s been pretty bad. Think about the team stores in other less fanatical cities?

    LocklandSF December 18, 2008, 3:47 pm
  • Even in the economic downturn, I think the yankees are still gonna be making money hand over fist next year in the new stadium. Even a small reduction from the maximum they could be taking in will be more than all other teams. Their signings this off-season show this clearly and also illustrate the long-term prospects for money making….

    Sam-YF December 18, 2008, 4:18 pm

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