Yesterday we noted that DODGERLIFE events tended to appeal to the well-heeled. But we had no idea just how many well-heeled Dodger fans are out there. This article should give you an idea. From "Yoga mats in the Dodger Stadium outfield" at the LA Times:
[The Dodgers] recently offered a fishing trip with pitchers Brent Leach and James McDonald. That brought in about $11,000.
[Dodgers President/COO Dennis] Mannion said events like these could eventually bring in more money than tickets, concessions or parking. The three nights the team offered batting practice -- in which fans could work on their swing under the stadium lights -- brought in about $170,000. [...]
Players typically get paid for their appearances unless the event is for philanthropic purposes, a Dodgers spokeswoman said. [...]
The [Andre Ethier] yoga event brought in about $10,000. The team said Ethier was not paid because a portion of the take went to charity, although a spokeswoman would not say how much.
The article points out the Dodgers aren't alone: Teams across Major League Baseball are using their stadiums, and players, in non-traditional ways to generate revenue. Now I'm curious to find out what the players' appearance fees are. Is it worth it for them, or do teams pressure them into these appearances? Or both?
It appears the days of stadiums hosting only ballgames and ballplayers just playing ball are coming to an end. This will result in a new generation of media-savvy players — not necessarily a bad thing, especially if these players leverage their celebrity to benefit charitable causes.
If Mannion's prediction does come true, then this new marketing paradigm will be as common as bobblehead and Webkinz giveaways. And eventually, the only thing separating the players from the fans will be the stadium fences.
photo by Ringo H.W. Chiu/LA Times