Friday, January 23, 2009
The Business of Baseball
It's interesting to see how the downturn has affected Major League Baseball, a sport that has been amazingly successful from a financial standpoint for years. One sign of the owners scaling back their cost structures is the fact that so many top notch free agents remain unsigned with only a few weeks remaining before spring training begins. Players such as Manny Ramirez, Bobby Abreu, Orlando Cabrera, Ben Sheets, Oliver Perez, Adam Dunn, and Jason Varitek remain unsigned. One more potential sign to examine for evidence of a softening of baseball's revenue streams will be this weekend's sale of Boston Red Sox tickets. The Sox have an amazing string of sell-outs stretching back a number of seasons, and in recent years, nearly all those tickets were sold before a single regular season game had been played. It will be interesting to see how quickly the tickets sell. Moreover, it will be interesting to see how much softening occurs in the after-sale market for tickets. A soft ticket market in the next few weeks will be ominous for those free agents remaining unsigned at this point.