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Jurr
01-18-2008, 12:12 PM
I had a discussion with a concession manager/distributor from Coors the other night in Pittsburgh, and he was talking about PNC Park.

Of course, the conversation dealt in some degree about how bad the Pirates are and how many fans are looking to boycot by just not going to games.

One thing that startled me was his discussion of future baseball attendance. He stated that some of the big concession companies are getting worried because of the end of the stadium building craze. He informed me that the attendance numbers have been up due to the influx of new stadiums all over MLB. He said that market research has shown that stadiums will continue to do well within a 5 year span because enough people in that market haven't seen the stadium, so there's a novelty issue. Wins for the organizations help, as well.

However, if you have 20 new stadiums but a limited playoff field, there's a lot of clubs that won't be in the mix, meaning that the novelty of the stadium is what's keeping parks in the green. He stated that some of the management's big concern is that once the stadiums are all new(er), there might not be enough sustaining force to keep people coming out.

I'm an enormous baseball fan, and I know that you are all big fans, as well. Do you think there's any validity to what he's saying? I always hear that the NFL has surpassed MLB by leaps and bounds, and we know that's true. However, is our beloved game next in line to be relegated to the realm of the irrelevant? I'm hoping no.

ohiosoxfan
01-18-2008, 01:16 PM
MLB generated more revenue in 2007 than the NFL did. First time this has happened in a long time. I think winning is more important than the novelty of coming to a new stadium. Yankee Stadium, Fenway, Wrigley, even the Cell, which is now, what 15 years old? As long as you put a competitive product on the field and keep ticket prices (and concessions) somewhat affordable people will come to baseball because its the greatest game there is and most people can relate to it since you don't have to be 7 foot tall or be 6"5" and 350 lbs. to play it. PNC is a great park to go to and the concessions are excellent as well, but if the Pirates don't put a winning product on the field once every 20 years, of course attendance will suffer. People have to have hope.

soxfanatlanta
01-18-2008, 01:24 PM
Continue to fall? Attendance and revenue have been trending upward for a while now. I'm sure there is a correlation between people in the seats, and the novelty of a new ballpark, but I doubt that it is that strong.

ohiosoxfan: MLB's take was about $6 Billion in 07; NFL made more than that in 2006. Read more here (http://money.cnn.com/2007/10/25/commentary/sportsbiz/index.htm).

itsnotrequired
01-18-2008, 01:30 PM
If you include the new Nationals stadium, 5 new stadiums have been built since 2002 (the last year of the "5 year market research"). So every other stadium should have had the "novelty" effect wear off. Yet the attendance numbers say other wise. Even PNC is doing well. Attendance for the Pirates dropped in 2007 compared to 2006 but was still higher than 2003 and 2004, despite the Pirates having better record in those years compared to 2007.

Attendance at Kauffman has risen the last three years in a row despite their 30+ year old stadium. Sure, their record has improved those seasons as well but they still lost over 90 games. Same deal for the Devil Rays and their crappy record and terrible stadium.

Attendance for the Brewers has increased each of the last five years despite only two winning seasons in that timespan.

soxfan21
01-18-2008, 01:42 PM
I think that ticket prices will have more to do with future attendance than a "novelty" effect will. If/When families cannot afford to go to ballgames anymore then there might be a falling off trend, but until that happens I think that baseball will be just fine.

thedudeabides
01-18-2008, 02:36 PM
I doubt this will have an effect on attendance for the long haul. And if that is a concern the Nats, Mets, Yankees, Twins, A's, Devil Rays, and Marlins(in Miami or somewhere else) all are opening new stadiums in the next few years. So this decline wouldn't happen for a while.

nccwsfan
01-18-2008, 03:48 PM
Baseball's long term prognosis is very good, IMO. Adding the Wild Card has turned out to be a great idea- look at the NL Wild Card race last season and the number of teams that were in it until the final weekend. Also, MLB is a more affordable option than the NFL, NBA, NHL- there are a lot more games you can attend but the grand total for a day at the ballpark is better than any of the other majors. Minor league baseball is at an all time attendance high as well.

The novelty of a new stadium can wear off (Baltimore) and there are some teams that have dormant franchises (Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay), but as a whole most teams can field a competitive team late in the season, thus keeping attendance up.

Optipessimism
01-18-2008, 08:30 PM
The owners will always be in the green. For proof, look no further than Florida.

Also, baseball >>>> all other sports. Sorry, but it is. That isn't an opinion, either. That is fact, and if the numbers don't back that up, it's only because the numbers don't feel like it.

Fenway
01-18-2008, 09:18 PM
I think that ticket prices will have more to do with future attendance than a "novelty" effect will. If/When families cannot afford to go to ballgames anymore then there might be a falling off trend, but until that happens I think that baseball will be just fine.

Hasn't happened in Boston yet.....$125 for a box seat and climbing

Madscout
01-19-2008, 01:17 PM
I think that baseball needs to takle the issue of a few teams monopolizing the market. I know in the case of Pittsburgh, the Pirates don't have a very good farm system, a poor club, and only a few pieces to deal. They pretty much have to rely on FAs or a draft to make them a better team. They don't have the money to go out and get the big name FAs or even guys who aren't as good, because they probably can't afford them. Meanwhile, the Yankees and Red Sox, and same division Cubs can go spend spend spend to make themselves better. I'd like to see something where the playing field can be leveled, so that it is truely who works the hardest, and puts the best team on the field through that, and not who puts the best team, or a team that will bash its way to the playoffs because they have the most money.

Brian26
01-19-2008, 06:58 PM
I'm an enormous baseball fan, and I know that you are all big fans, as well. Do you think there's any validity to what he's saying?

No.

Attendance has been up because the product on the field has been exceptional over the past few years, marketing has been fabulous, the playoff format allows many teams to be in the hunt until September, and interleague play generates additional interest.

Brian26
01-19-2008, 07:04 PM
I think that baseball needs to takle the issue of a few teams monopolizing the market. I know in the case of Pittsburgh, the Pirates don't have a very good farm system, a poor club, and only a few pieces to deal. They pretty much have to rely on FAs or a draft to make them a better team. They don't have the money to go out and get the big name FAs or even guys who aren't as good, because they probably can't afford them. Meanwhile, the Yankees and Red Sox, and same division Cubs can go spend spend spend to make themselves better. I'd like to see something where the playing field can be leveled, so that it is truely who works the hardest, and puts the best team on the field through that, and not who puts the best team, or a team that will bash its way to the playoffs because they have the most money.

Baseball has attempted to address the problem by implementing the luxury tax and revenue sharing from MLB.com properties. The bottom line is that baseball is addressing the problem now more than it ever did back in the 50's and 60's when the same problems persisted, as the Yankees used the Kansas City A's and St. Louis Browns as essentially their farm teams. I remember reading in Veeck- As In Wreck, as an example, that one day the Yankees decided they wanted Roger Maris and called up Kansas City and told them they should deliver Maris' contract to the Yankees while the Yankees decided who KC would get in return.

TDog
01-22-2008, 11:23 AM
Baseball has attempted to address the problem by implementing the luxury tax and revenue sharing from MLB.com properties. The bottom line is that baseball is addressing the problem now more than it ever did back in the 50's and 60's when the same problems persisted, as the Yankees used the Kansas City A's and St. Louis Browns as essentially their farm teams. I remember reading in Veeck- As In Wreck, as an example, that one day the Yankees decided they wanted Roger Maris and called up Kansas City and told them they should deliver Maris' contract to the Yankees while the Yankees decided who KC would get in return.

Some teams nearly went under during the Great Depression. And later, some teams could only survive by selling off players now and then. Overall, players didn't even make much money until free agency. I heard that Ed Hermmann had to be traded for players and cash so the White Sox could pay some bills.

People complain about the current haves and have-nots in baseball, but there is much more competitive balance in the American League now than there was 50 years ago.