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Philly Phrugality?
2004-11-08 01:27
by Mike Carminati

With new stadiums in Philadelphia and San Diego now one year old, can we expect a fall-off in attendance in 2005? And will that mean tighter payrolls for the Phils and Padres?

Well, here are all of the ballpark changes in the last 25 years (except for the Expos splitting time in San Juan, which doesnít fit the model):

TmYr1Old PkAtt/GYr2New PkAtt/GYr3Att/G
Minnesota Twins1981Metropolitan Stadium7,6901982Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome11,373198310,604
Toronto Blue Jays1989Exhibition Stadium28,7911989Skydome (June 5)47,784199047,966
Chicago White Sox1990Comiskey Park25,0291991Comiskey Park II/U.S. Cellular Field (2003)36,224199232,697
Baltimore Orioles1991Memorial Stadium31,5151992Oriole Park at Camden Yards44,047199345,000
Texas Rangers1993Arlington Stadium27,7111994The Ballpark at Arlington39,733199527,582
Cleveland Indians1993Cleveland Stadium26,8881994Jacobs Field39,121199539,483
Colorado Rockies1994Mile High Stadium57,5701995Coors Field47,084199648,037
Atlanta Braves1996Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium35,8181997Turner Field42,771199841,492
Seattle Mariners1999Kingdome28,1901999Safeco Field (July 15)43,250200035,983
San Francisco Giants1999Candlestick Park/3Com Park (1997-99)25,6592000PacBell Park/SBC Park (2004)40,973200140,888
Houston Astros1999Astrodome33,0002000Enron Field (2000-01)/Astros Field (2002)/Minute Maid Park(2002-04)37,730200135,855
Detroit Tigers1999Tiger Stadium25,0182000Comerica Park30,106200123,720
Milwaukee Brewers2000County Stadium19,4272001Miller Park34,704200224,311
Pittsburgh Pirates2000Three Rivers Stadium21,5912001PNC Park30,430200222,595
Cincinnati Reds2002Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field (1997-2002)23,1972003Great American Ball Park29,077200428,238
Avg 27,806 36,961 33,630
% Diff 33% -9%

Note that the average attendance increased 33% after a new stadium was opened. However, you'll also notice that the attendance in the subsequent year fell by 9%.

Here are the numbers for the Phils and Pod People with projections for next year using the figure above (9% decrease):

TmYr1Old PkAtt/GYr2New PkAtt/GYr3Att/G
San Diego Padres2003Jack Murphy Stadium/Qualcomm Stadium (1997-2003)25,0632004PETCO Park37,2442005 (proj)33,888
Philadelphia Phillies2003Veterans Stadium27,9012004Citizens Bank Park40,1252005 (proj)36,509
Avg 26,482 38,685 35,199
% Diff 46% -9%

What will such a decrease mean to these teams bottom line? Here's a conservative estimate using the lowest price of admission from each of their team sites:

TmYr3Att/G$/SeatTotal $
San Diego Padres2005 (proj)33,88810 $2,718,419.71
Philadelphia Phillies2005 (proj)36,50915 $4,393,053.55

Again, this is based on the low price as published on the team sites. The lost revenue may not come from just the cheapy seats. And the teams will probably raise ticket prices for 2005. However, there's a good indication that they will have a significant loss in revenue. I know I would miss four million dollars of I lost it. And keep in mind that this doesn't include the money from parking, concessions, etc. that those lost fans will no longer generate.

If you donít think these two clubs aren't anticipating a decrease in attendance, than you're fooling yourself. Maybe the Padres can afford it with a young team that promising to keep improving, but the Phils will be taking on more salary just to retain their base as the large contracts they've signed in the last couple of years start to mature. Maybe those crazy Jim Thome-to-the-Bronx rumors I heard aren't too remote after all. The Phils brass would love to replace Thome's salary with Ryan Howard's, and they will have Bill Conlin to sell the idea.

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