Monday, January 11, 2010

Casual Fans Pay the Bills

Last season, we polled SoSG readers about your level of Dodger hardcoreness (hardcoredom? Hardcorosity?). Seventy-one percent of you identified yourself as die-hard fans. Zero percent of you called yourself casual fans.

And aside from inevitable ticket-price increases, the Dodger organization has gone out of its way to acknowledge the die-hard fan. For instance, season-ticket holders received nifty autographed holiday gift packages in December, as covered by Roberto at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy. And we've spilled plenty of virtual ink over blogger nights at Dodger Stadium and the press box "Blog Spot."

But die-hards are only half — or less — of the equation. "With broadcast rights contributing a smaller percentage of revenue than in other sports, baseball clubs depend on gate receipts for as much as 60% of revenue. And the season-ticket holder typically accounts for about 15,000 seats in stadiums that generally hold between 30,000 and 40,000," according to the Wall Street Journal. At Dodger Stadium (capacity: 56,000), season-ticket holders likely account for much less than half of tickets sold.

Even with the higher face value of season tickets, which are usually paid for well in advance of Opening Day, it's clear that casual fans (i.e., non-blog readers, non-season-ticket holders) play a significant role in Dodger ticket sales. And it's exactly that type of fan the Dodgers are counting on to help grease the wheels for a financially profitable (or at least break-even) 2010 — despite the team passing on major free agents as well as draft picks that could have improved it in the future.

Your average, i.e., casual, fan might be aware of the McCourts' divorce travails (thanks to TMZ), but your average fan doesn't know who Dennis Mannion is. Or Kim Ng. Or Logan White. Which is great news for the Dodgers. Die-hard fans can offer all sorts of explanations for the Dodgers' current state of financial constipation, but the casual fan doesn't know — or care. A few pictures of Manny Ramirez in the Dodgers' 2010 ad blitz and casual fans will be flocking to Dodger Stadium as they did in 2009, when the Dodgers led the majors in attendance.

So no matter what you, dear SoSG reader/die-hard Dodger fan, think of the Dodgers as they stand now, bear in mind the Dodgers have different constituencies to placate. And to many fans, it will be business as usual at Dodger Stadium this season. Try not to be too frustrated.

photo: LA Weekly

18 comments:

Fred's Brim said...

I do my best to support their road gate. How much does road attendance factor into a team's revenues? Have I been inadvertently helping the Phillies beat us for the last two years?

Steve Dittmore said...

Tip of the cap Orel for a nice academic-focused post.

To answer FB's 2nd question, sort of. According to the CBA, 31% of a club's Net Local Revenue goes to a putative pool. Net Local Revenue equals Club's Local Revenue less Actual Stadium Expenses. "That pool is then divided equally among all Clubs, with the difference b/w each Club's payment into the putative pool and its receipt therefrom producing the net payment or net receipt for that Club." (CBA, p. 105)

So, if FB buys a Dodgers-Phillies ticket for a game at Citizens Bank for $20, assuming that no one else would have bought the ticket (meaning it went unsold), and we assume 25% (or $5) goes to stadium expenses, it leaves $15. 31% of $15 (or $4.65) goes to putative pool, leaving roughly $10.35 for the Phillies to pay Howard, Utley, etc.

Another important consideration to any team in the die-hard v. casual fan debate is accounting. Season ticket holders pay cash up front. Casual fans are unpredictable and their cash can occur at any time.

So, teams will always have a place, and a need, for us die-hards.

Sorry... first day of the semester. I'm back in Geek Mode. I'll be getting t-shirts.

Fred's Brim said...

thanks for that, Professor D!

I made sure not to buy any beer or food at Citizens Bank Park as I figured that would go directly to the home team :)

Dr. Geek said...

On Facebook, it seems that the majority of people that post uninformed comments on the official Dodgers page are overwhelmingly pro-Pierre and anti-Manny.

So I don't believe a Manny blast will get more people to games.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

People are still convinced that Juan Pierre tore it up during the 50-game suspension, and that Manny stank it up when he returned. To be fair, they're half-correct.

Dusty Baker said...

Thanks for that explanation, Professor!

Speaking of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy, Roberto is having some health issues:

http://www.vinscullyismyhomeboy.com/2010/01/bye.html

Let's send some Blue vibes his way as he deals with his illness.

Dusty Baker said...

I like Dr. Geek's reasoning for his vote in that referenced poll:

"- I'd rather listen to Creed than cheer for the Giants."

Sophie's choice, indeed.

rbnlaw said...

I was at the Home Depot Center on Sat. for daughter #2's volleyball opener. Luckily, I did not have to pay $20 to park there as did the soccer fans arriving for the Interliga matches. Preferred parking was $40 (that included handicap parking. . .lawsuit?) and valet was $60. They were pushing valet.

Anaheim Stadium is $12 to park during the season; $20 for Supercross and Monster Jam. Bottom line?

I will no longer complain about the exorbitant prices to park at Dodger Stadium. I might try tailgating in Elysian Park, though.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

BREAKING NEWS (only if you've lived on Mars for the last decade, with your eyes closed and fingers in your ears):

MARK MCGWIRE ADMITS STEROID USE

Dusty Baker said...

Everyone sitting down? Mark McGwire admits to using steroids, including during 1998 HR chase. SHOCKING!

Now Sosa and others need to come clean so we can move past this in baseball.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

Beat you to it, Dusty.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

Do you want to know the terrifying truth, or do you want to see me sock a few dingers?

Dusty Baker said...

At least you're not competitive about it...

Dr. Geek said...

Dusty, are you suggesting that Mr. LASF is partaking in the use of an illegal substance?

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

I'll have you know my snarkiness comes from a naturally enhanced level of testosterone, thank you very much.

Dusty Baker said...

Heh! We'll have to put an asterisk on your post, MLASF.

KLD said...

HI folks... I am a HUGE (love the caps) Dodger fan living in SF Giants land (Monterey). I grew up with the Dodgers in the 70's and consider Steve Garvey a God. He was and still is my favorite baseball guy ever. I actually became a Padres fan for a few years when the Dodgers let him go in '83. I was even there when her struck out in his last at bat with the Dodgers in Candlestick Park. That year, the Dodgers sucked (at least for me). Garvey was my guy!!! I hope to the heavens that the veterans committee will see that what he did before the steroid era was truly remarkable. Sure, compared to big mac or the demigod Pujols, he is just good but not great. But, one of those two got there with a little help from the 'ole needle. Don't get me wrong, I love Mac but Garvey should get a bit more consideration with all that has transpired. Am I wrong?

KLD said...

Saw the blurb that Pedro Guerrero died. When and how. Damn, that sucks.