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