Monday, October 5, 2009

Mourning the baseball season

There is always a sadness when the baseball season comes to an end, whether at the end of the regular season or at some point during the post-season. It usually depends on the fate of my favorite team, which is the White Sox. Their disappointing showing certainly contributes to feeling it today.

However, this year, there is more to it. I'm also feeling some sadness because my favorite sports in the whole wide world is slipping away again. I already stated my case for the need to stop the Wild Card, even though I know it probably won't happen.

The "revenue sharing" plan designed to create parity isn't working. Therein lies the problem. Both Los Angeles teams, the New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox, comprise 4 out of the 6 teams in the post-season. The Cardinals are backed by a big bucks brewery. The one exception will be the representative from the American League Central, and Detroit is a top 10 media market.

These teams actually won in 2 ways. First, they won on the field, fair and square, even if they spent and spent and spent to do so. They also won based on strategy. Or it could be called a loophole. They have the ability to command additional revenue, based on market size, which the 'smaller' teams do not. Sure, the 30 MLB teams share in the pie. But the big market teams can generate expensive plates to put the pie on.

Folks, it really isn't revenue sharing. New York and Los Angeles, especially, command millions and millions more for media rights. Factor in the additional sponsorship deals, suites, merchandise (to a greater local population), and the list goes on.

The Yankees used having a new stadium as their justification to significantly increase ticket prices. Even with the media rights and sponsorship revenue they command which is well above that of most smaller markets.

Sorry, but I'm not buying the "it's the economy" argument to the overall decline in attendance, with the exception of Detroit. People will pay the higher prices to go, just not as often as in the past. Therein lies the difference.

It should be that you can take a family of 4 to a baseball game and spend less than $75 for the afternoon or evening, including parking and some food. Since the cost these days is now in the $150 to $200 range, that family can only afford to go once (if that), rather than 2 or 3 times.

Trust me that those kids going once a year today won't grow up avid fans like we did when their parents can hardly afford to take them once, and even a team t-shirt costs $25. THIS is why attendance is dropping.

Factor in that the big money teams are still finding loopholes to win, and small market teams have a lesser chance once again, and you will see the sadness.

At this rate, even I "can" wait until next year.

No comments: