Nolan Ryan, unplugged

Well, you’re obviously aware of the impact that contracts and the escalation of salaries have on the game and the thing that concerns me is keeping the game affordable for families and that’s what our goal is: to have affordable family entertainment. Now, of all professional sports, we’re still number one in that area; finding ways because of the number of games that we play to discount tickets, to put on promotions on certain nights to allow families to come to the games. But, as salaries continue to escalate and expenses pertaining to the club and the organization continue to escalate, that challenge continues to be greater every year. So, we have to try and be creative as we can and we certainly do not lose focus is that the fans are our bread and butter and that we have to try to do everything we can within our ability to enable them to come to the ball games and enjoy the ball games.

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11 thoughts on “Nolan Ryan, unplugged

  1. There is something else that he says in here that's interesting that i've never seen any evidence about: Left field v.s. Center in regard to injury and wear and tear. I understand that left field would hide defensive struggles that one might have playing in center, but does it really impact the amount of injuries sustained? After all, left field in the Bronx has another wall to contend with when compared to center where you probably do a bit more running. @Jason, how about another post?! :)

    • You're a tough guy to please, Mike!

      I'm on Mr. Mom duty and heading to the movies. Maybe when I am back! I submitted a posting for ESPNNY, so check for that in a bit.

  2. Just trying to give you more ideas to please the masses! I appreciate your work and it is a constant cure to workday boredom, if that makes you feel better!

  3. Question (Where's Larry for this, though that's not the question?)–did players' salaries bring ticket prices up, or did higher prices bring player salaries up?

    • The latter. The former is more or less a laughable premise and has been disproven many times over.

  4. Personally, I think total gross team income inflated the salaries. No matter what, the ticket prices are going to follow the supply/demand of each individual market. The Yankees are going to maximize their profitability by finding the sweet spot between selling out and charging as much as possible. I'm thinking the math is a bit different with the Yankees as opposed to most other organizations because of the size of the market and the market reach the interlocking NY has on fashion as well as baseball, but I do remember Boras talking years ago about how much money the owners were making and that he was trying to make sure the players got their "fair share".

    I'd be interested to know what % of the yankees money comes from the tickets as opposed to YES and all of the advertisements all over the stadium;

    • You took the words right out of my mouth. Arte Moreno tried to use the same argument regarding Carl Crawford a couple of weeks ago.

      Numerous studies have shown that team payroll is not the primary motivation for raising ticket prices. (Baseball Prospectus did a piece on this for "Beyond the Numbers" and J.C. Bradbury did one for "The Baseball Economist".) It all comes down to supply and demand. For example, let's say you have a 50,000 seat ball park. Your team, despite being competitive and having a solid payroll, only draws 15,000 fans per game on average. Let's say you sign Carl Crawford to a 7 year/$142M contract. Is your team going to raise prices? Possibly, but they probably shouldn't. With Crawford in the lineup (or some other star type player), your average attendance might increase by 8000-10,000 people per game, but there still isn't the demand to justify raising ticket prices. By raising the prices, you might create a reserve effect. You might drive more fans away.

      By the same token, let's look at the Boston Red Sox. Between 2007 and 2009, their payroll dropped from $143M to $121M. Did their ticket prices also drop? No. They increased. Why? Because the demand for tickets is so high. The Red Sox are one of the most popular teams in the sport, and have sold out every game since May 15, 2003. With only 37,402 seats available at Fenway Park, supply is low and demand is sky high. They can justify raising the prices, and still sell out every game. Yes, their higher than normal payroll does have something to do with their success (and therefore, ticket demand), but it's likely the demand would still be in place even if the payroll were 20-30% smaller due to their large, rabid fan base.

      The Yankees are also a great example due to the fact they moved into a new ballpark in 2009. The change in venue to go along with the intense demand for tickets allowed them to increase their prices on tickets. The Nationals tried a similar move in 2008 when they moved into their new park, but they overestimated the demand, and were left with a ballpark that was unusually empty for a new park in its first season.

        • I concur. I had always thought it was that way, but then people start saying otherwise. Just making sure it's the other people who are insane.

          • I think the owners decided to use the notion as PR cover and, like most economic illeiteracies a lot of people believe, it has a sort of crude intuitiveness. But no, sound businesses don't spend money they don't have and then raise prices to cover it assuming they can make enough revenue. And besides that, as BBISM said, revenue is an independent function that has no tie to cost. Profit-seeking firms are going to look to maximize revenue no matter what their level of cost.