can banks remove late payments from credit report suze orman free credit report fico score checking new york credit reporting laws three credit reports and fico score cis credit reporting company free credit history report canada credit score report free without credit card e loan credit report why are there three credit reporting agencies dhi mortgage credit repair program check your credit report south africa my credit report after being denied credit free copy government sponsored free credit report site view credit report for free without credit card view my credit report without a credit card is annual credit report safe online federal fair credit reporting act wiki where do i get a credit report how to run a credit report for tenant what is a consumer statement on your credit report credit report remove inquiries us government free credit report org ohio state free credit report remove closed accounts my credit report top 3 credit report bureaus equifax safe free credit report website equifax credit report free trial clean up my credit report canada free credit report ads mislead consumers cbs free credit report canada without debit card best credit report sites reviewed obtaining a how to get my credit report for free please remove from credit report letter fix collections my credit report credit report no credit card required no trial check tenants credit report canada clear credit report free how long does an eviction notice stay on your credit report free credit report from your bank servus credit union 2009 annual report what is the best website to get credit report credit report info wrong your report free bureaus credit score background and credit checks for landlords fast fast money loan online new federal credit reporting laws how can i find out my credit report for free corporate credit union call reports 3 websites free credit report free credit report from credit fraud reporting credit bureau reporting requirements clear bad credit record loans south africa phone numbers all credit reporting agencies mailing chase credit report dispute find account numbers credit report quick fix to improve credit score equifax credit report and score promotion code transunion credit report dispute online do renters look your credit report removing bankruptcy from credit report uk increase credit score fast uk proxy server list best way to get a collection off your credit report how long will chapter 13 stay on credit report experian credit report guide how to get my experian credit report consumer report best credit cards 2012 long does consumer proposal stay credit report all credit reports done federal government agencies free credit report usa equifax fair what is credit reporting bureaus think credit reports reviews free credit report and score without a credit card how do you get a free credit report from equifax can you get a free credit report once a year other two guys free credit report commercials landlord checking credit report prospective tenants first report on the public credit hamilton report lost visa credit card canada review free credit report best company for credit report dispute credit report errors experian free fico score credit report s p credit research reports free credit online report check credit report for tenant free credit report nj free credit score and report online how to get a free credit report once a year consumer american express complimentary credit score and report where can i get my credit report without a membership uk credit ratings where is the safest place to get your credit report is there an actual free credit report my fico score is 660 free credit report business database experian correcting mistakes your credit report international 3 major credit report agencies address the credit repair man st. louis how can i get my credit report online 3 bureau credit report score monitoring disputing credit report items trans union credit reporting south africa credit report for ppi how to update your credit report canada 3 in one credit report plus score contest credit report error does debt fall off credit report after 7 years form bad debt credit reporting agency correcting address information credit report clean my credit report after bankruptcy do collection agencies have to report to credit bureaus my credit rating a person who is very poor illegal bad credit repairs forecast fair credit reporting act violations definition of charge off on credit report credit report one time pay best credit report and monitoring example of credit report dispute annual credit report customer service phone numbers credit union call report lookup true free credit report score insurance credit report remove dispute status your credit report how to get your yearly free credit report fair how can i get my report annual free credit free annual credit score report gov credit report credit scores without membership government official credit report site how to remove previous addresses from your credit report remove security freeze credit report most used credit report company what is a state tax lien on my credit report fair credit billing act fcba free annual credit report customer service phone number how to report a death to credit bureaus get tenant credit report 3 credit report agency best credit score reporting service transunion how to fix medical bills on credit report request free credit report equifax canada 72 hour latest credit repair system equifax credit scores ranges medical bill in collections on credit report northwestern mutual credit rating am best equifax canada personal credit report obtain my credit report score repair your credit report nco national credit reporting services collection account on credit report remove credit reports experian equifax transunion get paid collection accounts removed credit report credit report bureaus address all 3 credit reports with scores credco credit report codes credit report federal free scores free credit report login members how to get copies of your credit reports order credit report over phone mortgages for poor credit history how to remove a satisfied judgement from credit report read credit reports experian free credit report commercial videos how do you order a free credit report credit repair mortgage lenders of america three major credit reporting agencies in the us update personal information credit report pull your credit report free national consumer credit reporting agencies how do you obtain free credit report free report uk credit score how to check ordering a tenant credit report free three bureau credit report and score does rent a center report to the credit bureaus get credit report credit karma cash money loans from indian reservations where do i get my free credit report and score credit reports online best how to update credit report information credit bureau reporting agencies canada definition of a good credit rating corporation credit report free best credit report service future filing lawsuit against credit reporting agency credit card sales reporting 2011 3 free how to request credit reports by mail free fico credit reports should go my free credit report credit report monitoring free remove credit report charge off free credit score and report from 11 bureaus how to apply for how to get a payday loan online are there really free credit reports why is there a new free credit report band free legal advice credit reports lost credit card credit report fair credit reporting act canada long can negative credit remain report no charge at all credit report residents free small business credit report best place get credit report free how to order free credit reports online credit reporting bureau canada how to stop promotional inquiries on your credit report best way to get a credit report for free best credit report provider where do you go to get your free credit report purpose of the fair credit reporting act of 1970 first credit union of scranton checking account free 3 credit reports free free score and credit report online bureaus does serious delinquency credit report mean what is a charge off on your credit report mean free credit report irs gov phone numbers telephone numbers good credit report range are there legitimate credit repair companies request free transunion credit report get free credit report no credit card free credit report rap video bank of america remove from credit report how often does american express report to credit bureaus experian credit reports address how do i dispute incorrect information on my credit report free credit report from the government once a year can calculate my credit score my credit report fix credit report errors fast get credit report free australia dispute personal information credit report eviction credit report california what is kd on credit report landlord credit report services experian credit report scale equifax free credit score information kawartha credit union annual reports major derogatory on credit report credit report derogatory items reporting stolen credit cards credit agencies how to get old debt removed from credit report first american credco on my credit report equifax business credit report buy equifax online credit report canada credit report addresses and phone numbers credit report online uk report three credit report agencies how to get paid charge offs removed from credit report how to get your credit report free online equifax remove nco financial credit report my free experian free credit report south africa transunion consumer credit report how to clear credit report free wrong information on credit report credit reporting agencies fico score free tri merge credit report scores get 3 bureau credit report free credit monitoring agency under fair credit reporting act bad credit report duration dispute medical collection credit report credit reporting requirements for lenders california gov free credit report telephone number for free credit report what is true about credit reports how to freeze your credit report clark howard consumer advocate read my credit report transunion how to get a paid state tax lien removed from credit report fair credit and reporting act my free annual credit report transunion request credit report canada for free how will i get my credit report in canada for free guaranteed cash advance today no faxing pay off credit report collections learning disability tax credit canada free report with checking account personal solutions credit reports true credit report contact number how do your get a free credit report from transunion how to freeze my credit reports identity free credit score all 3 reports lexisnexis ins p&c credit report all 3 credit reports in one credit report federal website nationwide delete inquiries credit report report lost citibank credit card singapore credit report from experian equifax monthly credit report service free report experian phone number credit score free credit card report check get free credit report landlord remove collections from credit report how long does it take to get a credit report back credit report score range can you remove bankruptcy your credit report unlimited access your credit report aggressive 720 credit repair llc freeze my credit report ny how long does it take capital one to report to credit bureaus all 4 credit report and scores does lower your credit score check your credit report annual free credit bureau reports do companies check credit report top rated companies free credit report free credit report commercial cast instant free credit report online experian how do i pull my free credit report report bad creditors trw credit report agency credit report without subscription how do i dispute a credit report error annual credit report freeware government site how to get free credit reports and scores get free credit report online without credit card how to change information on my credit report does credit repair does garcinia cambogia work yahoo answers improve your credit report quickly georgia state tax lien credit report information credit report uk phone numbers all 3 credit reporting agencies where can you get your free credit report how do you repair your credit report removing collections from credit report letter to remove paid items from credit report ordering all 3 credit reports report lost credit card pnc bank check my credit report ontario dispute collections your credit report does current closed mean credit report ncua credit union reports free annual credit report telephone number annual credit report form pdf get credit reports tenants how to remove freeze on credit reporting elan financial credit report how do you get a free credit report on a non-profit organization free credit bureau reports credit reports from all three largest consumer credit reporting agency order my credit report and score how to get a free copy of all 3 credit reports get my 3 free credit reports request removal negative information credit report free credit report government issued ftc credit reports ?ă2 free online credit report without credit card information long does foreclosure stay your credit report california secured credit card reports to all 3 credit bureaus fha disputes on credit report how to clean up my credit report myself for free free credit report today how do you correct information on your credit report how to stop credit inquiry on credit report how to get a copy of credit report for free does security freeze your credit report mean clean up credit report after divorce payday loans bad credit no fees business credit cards with no guarantor equifax credit report vs credit score experian free visa report denied credit federal annual credit report free cancel mni credit report services xds credit bureau free credit report free annual credit report from the government often do credit card companies report credit bureaus how to order credit reports online how to get free credit score and report consumers equifax free online credit check how do i dispute a bankruptcy on my credit report how to remove bad credit from my credit report secure free credit report sites credit history laptop repair uk all the credit reports free cic triple advantage credit report legal what are the best credit repair companies payday advance lenders oregon how to get rid of a bankruptcy on your credit report credit score report without credit card free credit report gov fico score collections remove credit report how to run a credit report on a minor amex complimentary 30-day credit score & report get copy credit report uk credit agricole sa annual report 2011 check my credit score for check credit score free once a year mailing addresses three credit reporting agencies real free credit report credit card not reporting to credit bureau does checking tour own credit report lower your score best reasons to dispute credit report pay off credit report collections need to provide in order to receive a copy of your credit report experian consumer credit report annual free credit report usa annualcreditreport how do i get a free yearly credit report free annual credit report contact number stop access to credit reports fcc credit report free view online credit report free removing derogatory items from credit report canada free credit report singing pirates lyrics free credit report from the govt get totally free credit report they long do collections remain credit report canada business credit reports free fast online instant online cash loans south africa free credit report with experian how to check your credit history india equifax free credit report uk credit reporting service for small business what personal information is on your credit report national credit report boca raton fl what is my fico score estimate do you get 1 free credit report a year regular inquiries in credit report credit karma reporting agency credit report all three bureaus get credit history report canada order credit report online only consumer free annual credit report totally free credit report without debit card required credit report for free without credit card info have been denied deduction do get my free credit report fed gov free credit report graydon uk credit report how can i obtain a free credit report request their file dispute on equifax credit report order free credit report experian best way review your credit report what is the best website to get a free credit report access credit union annual report how to remove errors on your credit report reputable free credit report sites get free annual credit report and score charge off definition credit report personal credit reports experian uk free credit reports all three companies free credit report guy doesn;t speak english how to remove the word dispute from credit report how many times can you check your credit score a year is checking your credit report bad high school credit repair program secured credit card reports credit bureaus cheapest place get credit report free credit report a year free credit report consumer protection how to cancel my free credit report subscription how to see credit report online how long does medical collection stay on credit report how do you find finding out your credit rating credit repair in fort worth texas which company should i get my free credit report from checking my credit report free experian i need to get my credit reports free three agency credit report credit reporting privacy code 2004 free credit report.com commercials wiki fake credit report for rental difference between consumer reporting agency credit reporting agency free year credit report sample 3 bureau free credit report can you put freeze your credit report free credit report federally mandated how do you cancel free credit report account fair credit reporting act form disclosure consumer how do red obtain a free copy of your credit report best credit report monitoring service consumer report new free credit report commercial june 2012 obtain free copy your credit report credit card reviews consumer reports 2012 sample transunion consumer credit report fix your credit report quickly free credit reports government dispute a claim on my credit report canadian credit reports online credit risk report format get accurate credit report dispute credit report information transunion ch 7 bankruptcy how long on credit report where can i get my credit reports free get monthly credit reports order a free credit report from transunion free credit report all companies experian credit report for business transunion payday loans loans for bad credit no brokers quizzles report give free credit high cost free credit report impossible get free credit report canada certified credit report fcra consumer dla ecoa credit report what is the best credit card consumer reports long does negative information remain your credit report credit card fraud report what are the names of the 3 credit bureaus bank of america credit report login how long do bad debts stay on credit reports top credit repair attorneys credit report uk ?ă2 credit report and scores from all three addresses of three major credit reporting agencies 10 percent free credit report no credit card needed us bank secured credit card report key derogatory on credit report guide cbc innovis credit report copy my annual credit report free credit report without card details uk
Home Pete Toms LWIB: Ballpark Villages, Amateur Draft, Mid-Season Attendance, In-Market Streaming

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 1229 guests online

Atom RSS

LWIB: Ballpark Villages, Amateur Draft, Mid-Season Attendance, In-Market Streaming PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 9
PoorBest 
Pete Toms Article Archive
Written by Pete Toms   
Sunday, 19 July 2009 22:44
Article Index
LWIB: Ballpark Villages, Amateur Draft, Mid-Season Attendance, In-Market Streaming
MID-SEASON ATTENDANCE
IN-MARKET STREAMING
All Pages

LWIB

This week in LWIB, updates on ballpark villages, the amateur draft, mid-season attendance and live “in-market” streaming.

BALLPARK VILLAGES UPDATE

LWIB, MLB staged a very successful five days of events in St. Louis centered around the All-Star Game. While the response (both in numbers and level of enthusiasm) resulted in much deserved praise for St. Louis, the All-Star game also focused renewed attention on the failure and impacts of the stalled “Ballpark Village” development that was to accompany the new Busch Stadium.

Prior to the All-Star Game, a large vacant lot immediately beside the new Busch Stadium was converted to a softball field and parking lot which were also used as All-Star Game “Fan Fest” sites. That lot is (was?) expected to be part of a “mixed use” development that had been promised by advocates of the new Busch Stadium. LWIB, Tom Van Riper reported for Forbes:

Fans pouring into St. Louis for the July 14 baseball All-Star Game will get to experience a beautiful three-year-old ballpark loaded with amenities. What they won't get to experience is Ballpark Village, the ambitious mixed-use redevelopment project of shops, restaurants and condos adjacent to the park, that hasn't gotten off the ground.

The village project and its expected boon to the local economy was a big selling point for the new Busch Stadium, opened in 2006 at a cost of $370 million. But it's been derailed by the bum economy, leaving an open pit next to the park (the Cardinals will temporarily dress it up and use the space for Fan Fest activities during the All Star break). The team is on the hook for 85% to 90% of the cost, including about $200 million in private bonds. The Cardinals carry $17 million in annual debt service, from which there is no help from previously expected revenue from Ballpark Village. The plan called for the team to pay for about two-thirds of the proposed $646 million project.

Are the debt servicing demands of the new Busch Stadium, combined with the failure so far to generate revenue from the planned accompanying real estate development, impacting upon the Cardinals baseball operations? Mr. Van Riper notes that “..the Cardinals' estimated $195 million in annual revenue ranks eighth in the majors, while their $77.6 million payroll ranks 17th). The Cardinals announced earlier this year that they were abandoning plans to purchase their AAA Memphis affiliate due to concerns about existing debt. Jim Masilak reported in January:

Citing turmoil in the economy and concern over future revenue projections and debt obligations, the St. Louis Cardinals have withdrawn a letter of intent to buy the Memphis Redbirds, officials with the Triple-A club said Tuesday.

AND

Already saddled with significant debt after financing most of $365 million Busch Stadium, which opened in 2006, the Cardinals decided they could not take on the Redbirds as well.

The difficulties faced by St. Louis in constructing their Ballpark Village are not unique amongst MLB clubs. Earlier this year, A’s owner Lewis Wolff scrapped his proposed baseball stadium/mixed use development in Fremont. A smaller, but similar development adjacent to AT&T Park is stalled. The Lerner family (billionaire Washington real-estate developers) have yet to capitalize on the real-estate play that they foresaw would accompany the opening of Nationals Park. Mr. Van Riper also notes that Rangers owner Tom Hicks has stalled in his efforts to construct “Glorypark”.

Down in Texas, the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and MLB's Texas Rangers are dragging their feet on a massive redevelopment project designed to overhaul the area around the Cowboys' new $1.1 billion stadium. Billed as Glorypark, the plan was to turn 1.2 million acres housing a bunch of motels and auto dealerships into an upscale playground of shops, restaurants and scenic walkways. Rangers' owner Tom Hicks, whose holding company has defaulted on some debt, has no apparent deadline for breaking ground on the project.

Stadium/mixed use developments are not new to American cities but the ability of clubs and governments to complete these developments has been greatly compromised by the credit crisis and recession. LWIB, Adam Allington reported for American Public Media.

A $600 million retail and office development, the project's been touted as the best hope to bring people back to downtown St. Louis. Ballpark Village hit a snag last year when its biggest tenant backed out. Then the bond market collapsed, leaving the city and the Cardinals scrambling for a new source of funding.

Mr. Van Riper also explains how franchises with heavily leveraged real estate plans are being punished by the economic climate.

St. Louis isn't the only town where sports teams are getting smacked around by the real estate hurricane. In Tampa, Lightning owner Oren Koules has yet to develop the 5.5 acres of land that were included in the $204 million price tag he paid for the NHL club last year. The Lightning are now losing money after debt service.

AND

Tampa and Texas, both highly leveraged, are the two franchises most likely to suffer from their real estate fiascoes. The Rangers' debt to franchise value ratio of 66% is the third highest in Major League Baseball.

Stadium centred “mixed use” developments arose in reaction to increased public cynicism about the touted economic benefits of investing public dollars in new stadium / arena construction. Economist Phil Miller:

These mixed-use developments seem to be the norm now that the cat is out of the bag regarding the economic impact (i.e. job and income creation nature) of subsidizing sports stadium construction. But are these developments catalysts for economic growth or are they little more than attachments to stadiums to get sufficient voter approval*?

Advocates of investing public dollars in the construction of Nationals Park in Washington argued that it would spur economic renewal in a poor neighbourhood. Now with the second season at the new ballpark more than half complete, there are reports that the promised ancillary development has not yet been realized. Jeff Blair reported in June for The Globe and Mail:

The economic downturn suffocated the real estate development that was supposed to spring up around the 41,888-seat park. Serving fans in the immediate area of the stadium now, there’s just a seedy liquor store and a tented faux-tailgate area. Instead, fans are ferried by a golf cart to a nearby neighbourhood, Barracks Row, where they can get a drink and a postgame meal. On foot, it is 20 minutes away from the ballpark.

AND

The D.C. government put nearly $700-million into building Nationals Park, which is in the southeast part of the city on both sides of the Anacostia River. Approximately $2-billion worth of commercial real estate was gobbled up once the planned park was made public, with 16 office complexes and condominiums built in a frenzy in which derelict fast-foot franchises were bought out at a cost of as much as $125 a square foot, according to the Washington Post. Then the boom went bust, and the Post reported earlier this year that one developer of a 75-unit townhouse complex was selling as few as two units a month.

New stadiums have often become key components in a trend to stimulate economic renewal in decaying downtown cores via large, government enabled, development friendly, “entertainment districts”. Is there a growing popular and academic backlash against government financing of, and investment in, these developments? Again from Tom Van Riper.

Cardinals officials didn't return calls for comment, but Patrick Rishe, a professor of business at Webster University in St. Louis, believes the holdup has the makings of a public relations disaster for the club, if not a financial one just yet....The eyesore that sits next to the park is becoming a point of contention for the locals.

"The Cardinals have to do something eventually, because of the rhetoric they've been giving St. Louis residents for the past 10 years," says Rishe. He figures that Ballpark Village will happen at some point, though in scaled-down form.

In January, the WSJ published an opinion piece by Jerry Bowyer which coincided with the NFL playoffs.

If there ever was a time to crow about the wonders of rebuilding a city around a professional sports team, this would be it. Three of the four teams remaining in the play-offs hail from cities -- Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh -- that in recent years spent billions rebuilding their downtowns around pro sports facilities and other community "anchors."

Except that there's a problem. The teams might be competitive, but the cities definitely are not. All three continue to shrink in population, and have stagnant job markets and crumbling public schools.

Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were prototypes of the economic development fad of the 1990s: government-financed "investments" in economic development. They all practiced what was called "tin cup urbanism" -- the belief that the rest of society owed large taxpayer transfers to the urban cores from which most of us have fled. They all supped from the same cup: center city stadia, aquaria and subsidized retailia.

Heywood Sanders, Professor of Public Administration at the University of Texas San Antonio, is quoted in the aforementioned report from American Public Media. “We've got former festival marketplaces and subsidized hotels and entertainment districts from one end of the country to the other that have absolutely gone bust.”

Professional sports in the US has benefitted greatly from what most experts estimate is at least $10 billion worth of public investments in stadia / arenas over the past few decades. Should leagues and franchises expect this level of support to continue?

Select Read More to see the rest of this article including an update on the Amatuer Draft, mid-season attendance, and in-market streaming of games online

 

AMATEUR DRAFT UPDATE

LWIB, Jim Callis of Baseball America was very critical of both Commissioner Selig’s tactics in attempting to enforce “slotting recommendations” and compliant clubs who make “signability” the key factor in determining which players they select in the amateur draft.

The main purpose of any draft—and don't let anyone kid you otherwise—is to keep costs down. The secondary goal is to balance competition by allowing the worst teams to select the best players. That's exactly what happens in the NFL, NBA and NHL drafts.

But not in baseball. After the Nationals, Mariners and Padres kicked off the 2009 draft by taking the best pitcher (Strasburg), hitter (Dustin Ackley) and athlete (Donavan Tate) available, the asking prices for the top players remaining weren't in the same stratosphere as what the Pirates and Orioles wanted to pay at picks No. 4 and 5. The Braves and Reds were determined to not exceed MLB's bonus recommendations for the No. 7 and 8 choices.

As a result, Pittsburgh (Tony Sanchez), Baltimore (Matt Hobgood) and Atlanta (Mike Minor) all took players Baseball America rated 23rd or lower on its final draft board. Meanwhile, several of the best pitchers in the draft went much lower than they should have, solely because of money: Jacob Turner to the Tigers at No. 9, Tyler Matzek to the Rockies at No. 11, Aaron Crow to the Royals at No. 12, Matt Purke to the Rangers at No. 14 and Shelby Miller to the Cardinals at No. 19.

Besides Kansas City, the rest of those clubs are all legitimate playoff contenders this season. On the other hand, the Pirates and Orioles are in last place, while the Reds are sixth and the Braves eighth in the National League wild-card race

Mr. Callis is also critical of Commissioner Selig’s refusal to approve “over slot” deals until the August 17 signing deadline, while deals that adhere to “slots” are quickly approved. The Commissioner is rewarding clubs that comply with “slots” by allowing their draftees to enter pro ball a few months earlier (and potentially develop more quickly) than draftees of clubs that “go over slot”. Mr. Callis argues that the clubs should force changes sooner than later.

Teams extol players who sign quickly and place importance of not delaying the start of their pro career. Yet the longer a player is willing to wait, the more he'll get paid.

It simply rewards kids that sit out until the end, thereby hurting them developmentally," one agent says. "However, the bottom line is that the teams are the ones that let it happen."

What's the solution? Teams should stop taking part in this charade.

AND

The Royals spent a record $11.1 million on draft bonuses a year ago, and it will cost them in the neighborhood of $7 million to sign their first three picks in the 2009 draft: Crow, Wil Myers and Chris Dwyer. Other clubs think the parameters of those above-slot deals are close to done, but the commissioner's office won't sign off until right before the deadline. If that's true, Kansas City should just finish the contracts now and announce that MLB is costing their players development time.

After years of neglect, the draft looks to be the key issue when baseball's collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2011. But clubs should stand up for themselves now rather than wait for the silliness to end.

LWIB, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus also argued that the Commissioner’s tactic of delaying approval of “over slot” deals is a waste of time and effort.

The signing period for the 2009 draft is, as expected, a complete mess. As of today, teams have just one month remaining to sign their 2009 draft picks, yet 20 of 32 first-round picks remain unsigned, including 13 of the first 16 selections. Of the 12 who have signed, half agreed to terms below Major League Baseball's recommended slot,...

AND

What they might be waiting for is simply a deal that matches last year's slot, as opposed to the ten percent reductions, which in the cases of Minor and Leake are differences approaching $250,000, not exactly a trivial sum of money. Still it's enough to create either a situation with there is a stalemate between the team and the player, or in many cases, there may already be a deal in place, but Major League Baseball will not recognize it until late in the signing period, for fear of a domino effect of over-slot bonuses, which of course will happen anyway.

Some have called this the "Jason Heyward effect," referring to the Braves' first-round pick in 2007, also a year in which the slots were reduced by ten percent. The Braves and Heyward agreed early to a deal for the previous year's slot, but could not announce the signing until the deadline approached. "It's monumentally stupid," said one front-office official. "Everybody talks to each other, everybody knows who is going to sign for what, all this does is hinder a kid's development."

Both Mr. Callis and Mr. Goldstein have difficulty reconciling MLB’s heavy handed efforts to control costs in the amateur draft while clubs signing teenaged international free agents to record setting deals go unpunished. From Mr. Callis:

At the same time, spending is running wild internationally. MLB finds it perfectly acceptable for the Cardinals to spend $3.1 million on Dominican outfielder Wagner Mateo and the Yankees to drop $3 million on Dominican catcher Gary Sanchez. But if the Pirates had wanted to invest the same money in the No. 4 overall choice, the commissioner's office would have lobbied them hard not to do it and wouldn't have approved the deal until just before the Aug. 17 deadline.

Dollar for dollar, draft prospects are better investments than international prospects. Draftees don't have their prices driven up because they're not on the open market, and they've faced better competition and have been scouted for several years.

MLB struggles to even pinpoint the ages of international prospects. The Indians spent $575,000 on shortstop Jose Ozorio last summer, whom MLB verified as a 16-year-old, and recently learned that he's actually three years older and named Wally Bryan.

From Mr. Goldstein:

Said one exec, Look, Bobby Abreu can't find a job and then signs for $5 million. While 16-year-old are getting signed off sandlots in the Dominican for $3 and $4 million? That's the kind of thing that's going to get the union going," he added, while predicting than during the next bargaining session, once the players figure out what they want, them giving into financially harnessing the signing system for both draftees and international players will be what they use for leverage.

“Rookie compensation” (both in MLB and the NFL) is a contentious and potentially divisive issue amongst union members in those leagues. In June LWIB reported that in reaction to the press coverage of Stephen Strasburg’s rumored demands, some MLB players have been publicly critical of escalating signing bonuses for amateurs. As Mr. Goldstein speculates, a similar backlash from veterans could develop over signing bonuses for international free agents. (The politics within the NLFPA are more complicated, vets vs. rookies, current players vs. retired) In an earlier June edition of LWIB, MLBPA Executive Director Donald Fehr was quoted:

MLB Players Association Executive Director Don Fehr, speaking immediately after Smith on the rookie wage scale issue, said, “One of the things you have to be wary of, when you talk about the issues that were just raised, is in collective bargaining generally, and sports is certainly no exception to this, very often people will look, on the other side, will look for wedge issues.”

Fehr said the “classic example of a wedge issue” is one in which one group in a union is told another group is getting too much money “and you should all go and squabble with one another.”

“Now I don’t know if that is involved in this circumstance here, but on this side of the table we are all very conscious of such issues and where the instigation of raising such an issue comes from. If it comes from the players’ side, you don’t have to worry about it, because it will come with a proposed solution.”

 


 

MID-SEASON ATTENDANCE

LWIB the All Star break provided an opportunity for pundits to examine mid season attendance numbers. How is MLB attendance? Don Walker reported that,”Overall, attendance in Major League Baseball is down 5.9%, compared with the same time period a year ago.” Darren Rovell reported a very similar decline of 5.5%. Also from Mr. Rovell:

The most interesting numbers from the group that has experienced an attendance increase this year is the Kansas City Royals, which are getting the renovation and Zack Greinke bump despite heading into the break 14 games under .500. It also might come as a shock that the Rays, who made it to the World Series and are still in the chase to make the playoffs, are only up 11 percent from their measly attendance at this point last year.

Baseball officials say that the attendance decrease isn’t as bad as one might think because both the Mets and the Yankees are playing in new, smaller stadiums.

The Mets are down 22 percent and the Yankees are down 13.5 percent on a per game basis as compared to this time last year.

But the Mets are actually up (+4.8%) on a capacity comparison, while the Yankees are down less than half their total attendance number (-6.2%) when you consider the cutting of seats at the new stadium.

I know they’re in economic hell, and they even raised some of their ticket prices, but it’s a bit surprising that the Tigers have the second-worst attendance slide in the league (-21%) when they are leading the AL Central and are nine games over .500.

In a Baseball Prospectus column, Shawn Hoffman pegs the attendance decrease at about 5.9%. More importantly, Mr. Hoffman provides some analysis on how gate receipts have been affected to date this season. Not surprisingly, the inclusion or exclusion of the two NYC clubs has a dramatic effect on the league wide bottom line.

...prices are just as important as paid attendance, especially in a year where most teams have either cut or kept them flat. There are also suite and club packages to consider; the Mets and Yankees have both drastically increased inventory in this space, making regular ticket sales seem almost secondary.

Team Marketing Report's annual survey can help with some of this. Coming into the season, the average ticket price rose 4.8 percent year-over-year, to $26.46. But if we combine TMR's numbers with the first-half attendance data, the weighted average so far has actually been $28.72 (which makes sense, since large-market teams generally draw the largest crowds and have the highest prices). That's up from a weighted average of $27.02 at this point in 2008.

So if we multiply it out, total gate receipts (price x tickets sold) are actually similar to last year's, down just three hundredths of a percent. In other words, higher ticket prices may actually be making up for the decline in total attendance.

That's true on an aggregate level, at least. There are still those two enormous new elephants in the room. If we take the Mets and Yankees out of the equation, the average ticket price still rises, but only by about ten cents, meaning that overall revenue is still falling by about 4.3 percent. And even that number is being held higher by the other high-end teams; the Cubs, Red Sox, and Phillies have all raised their average ticket prices, without any negative impact on attendance.

The reality is that most teams are struggling. According to our revenue estimator, twenty teams have seen declines at the gate, led by Toronto, San Diego, Oakland, Cleveland, and Arizona—all of whom are down more than twenty percent from last year. (Note: Toronto may only be there because of their currency; TMR calculated their prices during the winter, when the loonie was much lower against the dollar than it is now.) Given that none of those teams look like they're going to be anywhere near a playoff spot, and the economy still hasn't rebounded like many had hoped, the year-over-year comparisons may only get worse as the season goes on.

While gate receipts remain MLB’s largest single source of revenue, the negative impact of declining ticket sales is mitigated by MLB’s more diversified revenue streams. Mr. Hoffman predicts 2009 will be another robust year for MLB.

In the end, despite all of the negativity, I'm sticking with my prediction that industry revenue will actually be up this year. Attendance will likely be down more than six percent once the dust settles, but the new stadiums in New York should just about make up for that shortfall. Meanwhile, MLB Network is adding $200 million to the top line almost out of thin air, and MLB Advanced Media should at least see mild growth.



IN-MARKET STREAMING

LWIB John Ourand and Eric Fisher updated readers of The Sports Business Journal on MLB’s recently announced deals allowing live “in market” streaming of Yankees and Padres games. MLB expects to have similar deals in place for most clubs at some point during the next season. The SBJ report provides an indication of MLB’s short term revenue projections for the newly launched venture.

Major League Baseball’s new in-market game streaming has the economic potential to rival the more than $40 million in annual revenue brought in by the established MLB.TV out-of-market service, according to league executives.

AND

MLB.TV, after a slow start in 2002, now attracts about a half-million subscribers per year paying $79.95 to $109.95 each, amounting to more than $40 million in annual revenue. MLB executives believe the in-market product could rival, and potentially surpass, that sum due to several key factors.

Most fans, according to league research, root for a single team, and the sport’s fan base is roughly split nationwide between being geographically near their favorite club and being dislocated. Those elements, in the eyes of baseball, present a chance to essentially double the market for sales of streaming video subscriptions. MLB.TV enforces local blackout restrictions, with the in-market product such as the newly named “Yankees On YES” thereby providing a new opportunity for hometown fans to access previously unavailable content.

LWIB will return August 3


Pete Toms is an author for The Biz of Baseball and a staff member of the Business of Sports Network. He can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

Follow the Business of Sports Network on Twitter Twitter

Subscribe

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?