Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tighten Up

Baseball is hunkering down:
Major League Baseball won't increase spending next season for the first time in four years because of the deteriorating economy, the sport's No. 2 official said. ``It's a challenging sponsorship market and advertising market,'' MLB President Bob DuPuy told reporters at the end of the first day of the quarterly owners' meeting in New York . . .

. . . A budget was submitted for club approval that was flat compared with last year, DuPuy said while declining to reveal figures, and the sport has also put a hold on unidentified initiatives. The last time baseball didn't boost spending was in 2003-2004, he said.
Baseball has also started packing its lunch each day, buying Safeway Select items over premium brands, and has canceled its Netflix subscription.


Pete Toms said...

This is good news, isn't it?

I cannot remember when fans have not complained about player salaries or the expense of attending games. This is the solution, lower demand = lower prices = lower salaries...all good?

The DHL thing is a real eye catcher, GM - one of the Jays biggest sponsors, is out - Yankees suite sales have stalled, questions surrounding Citi's naming rights deal with the Mets, Nationals couldn't sell naming rights before the economy tanked, let alone now, flattening ( that may be generous ) ticket's still a great business though....look how the the LPGA and NASCAR are faring in these times for a comparison...

The industry may finally have peaked, great run though.

Craig Calcaterra said...

The DHL thing has little to do with baseball. The company -- based in Germany and with much larger operations internationally than domestic -- announced last week that it was going out of the package shipping business in North America.

Ups and downs. They happen.

mooseinohio said...

Just wondering here - brainstorm style - but what would happen if a team, especially on that has been low in attendance did something radical such as minor league style general admissions policy for the year. I know you'd have to be creative with PSL and season ticket holders but give them a discount as well - kind of a thnak you for past support.

My thought is that while you may not make as much money in ticket sales the goodwill purchased could be incredibel. For example - if the Pirates offered all box seats for $25, lf/rf box seat for $20, all remaining lower level seat for $15 and everything else for $10 would attendance increase 20%, 30% maybe 50%. If all those same folks bought items at concession stands then maybe you make the same ticket sales/ballpark dollars as you had previously with lower attendance numbers.

Plus a good marketing campaign to let folks know that everyone is in this economic struggle together so we'll lower our prices to let folks have someplace affordable to go to have some old fashion fun. Let the team be viewed as a community asset and that together the citizens of Pittsburgh will come together and get through these tough times together. Along those line - have open batting practices and fielding sessions like when I was a kid and loved going early to Fenway to watch Yaz and Rice hit or some of the pregame fungo sessions.

Maybe you lose money - I suspect you were probably going to if you stayed the course anyways but think about all the potential upside. I know I would make a few trips from Athens to PNC to get some good affordable seat to introduce my 3 year old to major baseball.

Pete Toms said...

Craig, I think you have missed the DHL / MLB story. It does have a big impact on MLB. DHL has been a big sponsor of MLB, both at the league level and local team level. They are yanking their sponsorship $$$$. I'd be astounded if this isn't of significant concern amongst owners and @ MLB HQ.

Moose, a lot of teams lowered ticket prices big time last season, to the point where they were virtually free. The problem with doing this is that it irritates seasson ticket holders who pay full freight....and I know they have the better seats...but "price integrity" is a concern to teams. Anyway, there are gonna be plenty of affordable seats in a lot of big league ballparks in 09.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Not disagreeing with you Pete, I think I just misunderstood your comment. I thought you were implying that problems (or prospective problems) with baseball may have been what led DHL to pull out when, in fact, it's because DHL itself is going down the drain. No question that losing DHL as a sponsor is a big deal for baseball.