Monday, September 22, 2008

Bear Market To Harm Cub Market?

Ken Davidoff, via Andrew Zimbalist speculates about how Wall Street's crash and burn could impact baseball:
Baseball has largely been recession-proof, but you have to wonder whether it will feel any sort of dent from the events of the past week. Specifically, will the trouble plaguing the likes of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch impact future team sales? Will it decrease either the sales price or the suitors for the Cubs?

"If one is thinking of the sale of the Cubs, there are one of two ways in which this could be seen," said Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College. "One would involve evaluating the portfolios of the major bidders at this point. Certainly the Ricketts family, which seems to be the front-runner by a good margin at this point, their fortune is in private equity investments. One would think that they have been hit significantly by this, and that might influence their wherewithal.
Seriously. Especially considering how much debt has been said to factor into the bids for the Cubs. If the term "credit crunch" means anything, doesn't it mean that giving somebody close to a billion bucks for a baseball team is going to be a tall order these days?

But perhaps the biggest impact will be on the day-to-day bottom line:
"But also the baseball model, and the model of all sports since about 1990, has been to cater to the more rapidly growing income groups. The corporate executives, the top people in the financial sector, to make money off corporate suites and club suites. These are the population sectors that are getting hit hard right now. It seems to me logical that the sports model is going to be taking a little bit of a hit. I do think that team revenue growth, 11 percent a year, that's not going to continue. It's even more likely you'll see diminution of revenue in the next year or two."
I can't help but wonder how many Met and Yankee season ticket holders worked for the Lehmans and Bear Stearns of the world.


Jim D. said...

LB Yankees season ticket holder here!

Matt said...

I was listening to part of the yankees game on the radio last night. The announcers (not sure who, I was flipping between two broadcasts) noted that there were some empty seats down in the lower level. He theorized that those seats belong to Wall Street who has bigger things to worry about at the moment. I went to a game Wednesday night at the stadium and noticed the same thing.

So, to answer your question, yes a lot of Wall Street types have season tickets for the yankees and mets.

Anonymous said...

As a season ticket holder for years now, believe me that most of the lower level from the 3rd/1st base line to home plate is big business owned. I'm not shocked there were some empty seats. It's really a shame because alot of those seats go to waste in the lowers many times throughout the year. I wish they would just sell them atleast.