Monday, August 10, 2009

Is It Worth Your Investment?

I turned on my computer today to find all sorts of snarky little messages on Facebook from Yankees fans. Most were simply directed at the vanquished Red Sox who were abused by the Bronx Bombers this weekend. Some, however, were a much snottier version of that message, which basically stated that the Yankees were the only baseball team that mattered and your team (no matter which team you root for) sucks.

Hey, every fan is entitled to their opinion, but to the snotty Yankees fan, the one that doesn't care about any other aspect of baseball except that the Yankees are winning, I ask you this:

Can you afford to support your team anymore?

What I mean is, in this time of recession and financial peradventure, which teams are a reflection of the bargains people are looking for?

I made a list of the 2009 payrolls for each major league team at the beginning of the 2009 season. I divided that payroll by the number of wins each team had to find out how much each win cost. Then I added in the average ticket price for each team so I can see what fans are paying for.

This is what I found:

Teams that pay the most per win:
Yankees-- 2.9 million per win
Mets-- 2.6 million per win
Cubs-- 2.3 million per win
Boston-- 1.978 million per win
Detroit-- 1.95 million per win

Teams that pay the least per win:
Florida-- 634 thousand per win
San Diego-- 910 thousand per win
Tampa Bay-- 1.037 million per win
Pittsburgh-- 1.083 million per win
Texas-- 1.1 million per win

What this tells us:
All that tells us is that it costs money to win in baseball. Pittsburgh and San Diego may pay the least per win, but neither team has a very bright future. Florida is a good young team, but we've all seen the fire sale that happens every time the young players want to be paid. So it's a good year to be working in the payroll department for Tampa Bay and Texas.

Meanwhile, the Yanks and Boston pay a lot to win. The Mets just pay a lot to lose this season. Just another brick in the Mets disaster wall.

What about me, the fan?
Who cares if the baseball team you like is paying a ton of money per win? Well, you do, if it gets reflected in ticket prices. It's one thing for your team to spend a bunch of money to win, it's totally different if you have to spend that extra money to win.

Top average ticket prices:
Yankees--$72.97
Red Sox--$50.24
Cubs--$47.75
Mets--$36.99
White Sox--$32.28

Bottom average ticket prices:
Arizona--$14.31
Pittsburgh--$15.39
Atlanta--$17.05
Tampa Bay--$18.35
Florida--$19.06

If you're feeling the heat of recession, it's a good year to be a fan of Florida teams (which is good considering the bath that state has taken on home values) and a bad year to be a fan of New York teams. Pittsburgh sucks, but at least the team doesn't charge you much to watch it suck. Atlanta and Arizona are both bargains as long as you aren't expecting a title from it.

So which teams best support the recession battered fans?
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have an unfortunate name, but the team has 65 wins, spends like a top ten team, but is nearly in the bottom ten for ticket prices. That's wallet friendly.

Colorado has 61 wins and is in the bottom 10 of ticket prices. The Rockies premium tickets are the lowest average in the league. Bargain!

Tampa Bay and Texas both have over 60 wins and are in the bottom 10 of ticket prices. The teams also spend like misers, so don't expect the young stars that make the teams good to stick around.

AVOID:
As much as I make fun of Yankees fans for getting taken to the cleaners by their beloved team, how can the Washington Nationals have any fans? The team has the worst record in the league, yet wants fans to pay a top ten ticket price?! FAIL.

The Mets have a beautiful new stadium. The Mets were supposed to be good. The Mets charge ticket prices like a team that is good. The Mets are not good. FAIL.

While the cross-town Angels are one of the biggest bargains, the L.A. Dodgers spend less money than the Angels, but charge more for ticket prices. Smart payroll department, but not real good public relations. Why pay more when you can go across town and watch the Angels for $10 less? Well, I guess it'd take $10 in gas to sit in that traffic.

So there you go. We've reaffirmed that the teams that spend win unless they're the Mets. We've learned that teams that don't spend, suck unless they are in the state of Florida. Finally, we've learned that the Yankees have the best record in baseball and the fans can enjoy that....from their living room, because there is no way they can afford to see the games in person very often.

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