Big Ticket Signings Don’t Drive Attendance

With the Angels throwing a small mountain of money at Albert Pujols, a common justification for the expenditure is that the revenues he creates through gains in attendance and merchandise sales will make up for the costs of acquiring him in the first place. This argument is a pretty common one among people looking to defend free agent prices, but it has one fatal flaw – there isn’t much in the way of evidence to support the idea.

The merchandise argument is almost a total non-starter, in fact. As part of MLB’s revenue sharing plan, the profits from sales of jerseys, hats, and the like are pooled into the central fund and distributed equally to each team around the league. While about one-quarter of all baseball jerseys sold have a Yankees logo on them, each team shares equally in the profits from those sales. Even if every person to walk through the gates in Anaheim next year purchased a Pujols jersey, the Angels wouldn’t get much benefit from those sales.

Where teams can really differentiate themselves and create additional revenues are attendance and television contracts – teams pocket the profits they make by selling more tickets or by negotiating better rates with their local cable provider, or, in many cases, creating their own regional sports network and cutting out the middle man. The Angels’ spending windfall is essentially a direct result of the latter option, as Arte Moreno exercised an opt-out clause in the team’s television deal last winter and renegotiated a new contract that will reportedly pay the team $3 billion over the next twenty years. The contract essentially tripled the team’s TV revenues, upping them from $50 million to $150 million per season.

However, that deal was already agreed to before their recent series of signings, and adding Pujols won’t allow the team to extract even more money from Fox Sports. The franchise secured those revenues prior to signing Pujols, and his presence won’t earn them any extra money even if their ratings go through the roof during his time in Anaheim. By the time the Angels television contract is up for renegotiation again, Pujols’ days will be long since finished, and his presence on the roster a decade prior won’t have much impact on what kind of deal the franchise will be able to negotiate in 2031.

That essentially leaves revenues from items related to stadium attendance – ticket sales, parking, concessions – as the one area where Pujols could generate an increase in profits for the Angels. While MLB teams are forced to share a portion of their locally generated revenues, they keep 85 percent of the profits from their gate receipts, so a significant spike in attendance from adding Pujols could put more dollars in the team’s pockets, offsetting some of the cost of his contract in the process.

The problem here is that there simply isn’t much evidence that these kinds of contracts actually drive sustained long-term increases in attendance. The most comparable deal to this contract is, of course, Alex Rodriguez‘s $252 million deal that lured him to Texas during the winter of 2000. Tom Hicks made similar financial arguments at the time of that deal, arguing that Rodriguez’s name value would cause a drastic increase in attendance, which would also allow him to make large gains in revenues from developing the land around the Rangers ballpark.

However, that simply never materialized. Here’s a graph of the Rangers attendance from 1996-2005, which gives us a 10-year window that includes their ability to draw fans before Rodriguez arrived (’96-2000), during his time in Texas (’01-’03), and the first two years (’04-’05) after they shipped him to New York for Alfonso Soriano.

The Rangers were drawing well in the mid-1990s as they were perennial contenders in the AL West, but were seeing the fans come to the park less often as the team’s fortunes on the field took a turn for the worse. Rodriguez’s arrival turned that tide, and in 2001, the Rangers saw their attendance jump by 242,620 fans over the prior year. That nice little spike got them back near the attendance levels they were experiencing when the team was winning, but it was a short-lived boost, as fans quickly realized that they weren’t overly interested in watching Rodriguez play for a losing team, and they avoided the park en masse in 2002. In fact, the loss of 478,624 fans between Rodriguez’s first and second season was twice as large as the gain they got from the spike of bringing him in, and then they lost another 258,003 fans during Rodriguez’s third and final season in Texas as well.

By the end of his stay with the Rangers, the team had actually seen a net loss of 494,000 fans compared to their final year prior to signing him. Having not realized any real financial gain from having Rodriguez on the roster, the Rangers gave up on the idea of keeping him in Texas and shipped him to New York for Alfonso Soriano and some salary relief. They cut payroll, re-built the roster, and managed to turn a 71-win team from 2003 into an 89-win team in 2004. And, in perhaps the greatest demonstration of what actually causes fans to decide to go to the ballpark, the Rangers saw an attendance spike of 419,291 fans.

The attendance spike that occurred in the year they got rid of Rodriguez was 73 percent larger than the spike that they got when they acquired him. And, unlike the short-lived boost that came from bringing Rodriguez onto the roster, this spike actually held, as the team was able to maintain those attendance levels in 2005, actually adding another 11,536 fans in the second year after Rodriguez’s departure.

If one were to simply look at the facts regarding attendance in Texas surrounding Rodriguez’s arrival and departure, it’d be hard to conclude anything other than that having him on the team had no real impact on drawing fans to the park, nor did he create anything close to the extra revenue that Hicks may have anticipated.

Of course, this is just one player in one city, and while Rodriguez was a phenomenal talent, he wasn’t quite the established superstar that Pujols is currently. So, let’s look at another example where the sport’s marquee player changes cities with a deal that looked to lock him up for the remainder of his career.

Cincinnati Reds attendance, 1996-2005.

Year Attendance Note
1997 1,785,788  
1998 1,793,649  
1999 2,061,222  
2000 2,577,371 Ken Griffey Jr. Acquired
2001 1,879,757  
2002 1,855,787  
2003 2,355,259 Great American Ballpark Opens
2004 2,287,250  
2005 1,943,067  

The Reds saw a 25 percent attendance boost the year after they acquired Ken Griffey Jr, the most recognizable player on the planet at the time he was traded from Seattle. However, one year later, they saw a 27 percent decrease, as the novelty aspect wore off and fans realized that they simply did not want to pay to watch Griffey play on a losing team. Attendance continued to hover at pre-Griffey levels until the Reds new ballpark opened, which created an attendance surge of similar proportions to acquiring Griffey.

Again, though, we see that having Griffey as a gate attraction didn’t lead to any kind of sustained revenue growth for the Reds, despite the fact that he was a local hero and his father had been a star for the franchise previously. Given Griffey’s marketability and his connection to the city, he’s perhaps the perfect storm of circumstances that should conspire to bring fans to the ballpark. And like with Rodriguez, the team did get a boost in year one, but once again attendance returned to prior levels in year two.

At best, there appears to be a short-lived gain associated with making this kind of investment in a player who you expect to draw fans to the park, and even that effect has a minimal financial impact on the organization. If you look at other big money free-agent signings over the last 10 years, the pattern is the same. Teams might see a small bump in year one, but if the team doesn’t win, the fans don’t stick around.

If Albert Pujols is going to earn his contract, he’s going to have to do it by producing wins on the field. A team’s record is the driver of attendance, and if Pujols makes the Angels contenders, they will benefit from the extra revenue associated with drawing more fans and earning potential windfalls from playoff appearances. However, there’s simply not much evidence that Pujols will produce revenue for the Angels above and beyond what he’ll add through helping the team accomplish those goals. Wins create revenue, not star-attraction players.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

113 Responses to “Big Ticket Signings Don’t Drive Attendance”

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  1. awy says:

    make that argument again for big market teams and on a long term scale.

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    • Turk's Teeth says:

      I don’t get the point of Cameron’s article at all, frankly.

      He basically buried the crucial point — Moreno signed a mammoth media deal that will allow him to pay off the total sunk cost of the Pujols and Wilson acquisitions in the first two years of a twenty year deal.

      The rest of the argument basically amounts to an elaborate second-guessing of how Moreno should spend that boatload of money. The Angels already sell out (or nearly so) a majority of their games. They’ve been in the top five in attendance for three years, they have a modest-sized park, and we’re a decade removed from the Angels WS run. Attendance is a total red herring — the Angels average 40k a game even without Pujols.

      Moreover, comparing LA to Cincinnati or even Dallas is laughable on its face — completely markets and contexts.

      So Moreno is suddenly a rube because he’s going to spend his money to please the fanbase? He tripled his media revenue overnight, well above the cost of any team payroll the Angels have maintained in any season, and Cameron is going on and on about whether Pujols will drive attendance, and thus “earn his money”?

      Whatev — this is sour grapes, and if the Mariners had the Fox Sports deal and Pujols, we’d be seeing a mighty different POV here. One that looked at aggregate revenues and second-order effects. Between the TV deal and ticket sales, Moreno could afford to add even Fielder, pay a luxury tax, and still pocket a profit.

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      • GoateesOnly says:

        I believe the article was attempting to debunk the common idea that superstar contracts will pay for themselves with increased ticket sales. I don’t disagree with anything you said, but you seem to be arguing different points than that.

        FWIW I was convinced by Dave that there isn’t much to the argument that ticket sales will pay for a significant chunk of a supercontract.

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      • Barkey Walker says:

        Usually (but not always), when I rant against an article on FG, I misread it or misunderstood it. You might want to try to read this one because I think you missed the argument almost entirely.

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      • J says:

        I think this is a great and very persuasive article. The point is not about criticizing Moreno’s decision. Nowhere does Cameron say (or even imply, in my view) that he’s a rube.
        It’s just about the empirical question: Do superstars add revenue beyond their production on the field?
        I was on the other side before, but now I’m rather convinced they don’t.

        Now, perhaps, the only reasonable way to explain this deal is psychic costs. Arte did not make a profitable business decision; he overpaid for Pujols because he valued being the owner of the biggest, best, flashiest team in So Cal.

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      • bigbirdreturn says:

        The biggest, best, flashiest team in So Cal is probably LA Lakers.

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    • Turk's Teeth says:

      Another thing this whole rant misses is that Moreno is an ad man. He made his mint selling display advertising and billboards. He owns a radio station, currently an ESPN affiliate, and he expanded ad space throughout Angels stadium.

      Big stars bring in big ad money. So in addition to TV rights and incremental ticket revenue, he probably doubled or tripled the cost of his ad slots with the Pujols gambit, and there will be many more takers than Howards Appliances in the coming years.

      But let’s keep talking about the dollar value of WAR, and leave all this pointy-headed macroeconomic stuff to the MBAs.

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  2. David Pinto says:

    What happens to road attendance?

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  3. Babip Avengers says:

    You use of “latter” is ambiguous here, and leads to confusion; it seems you are referring to the dichotomy between “attendance and television contract”, but between listing these as the two options and using the phrase “latter” you provide another list, with three items: “selling more tickets or by negotiating better rates with their local cable provider, or.. creating their own regional sports network and cutting out the middle man”. In reading this paragraph, the initial reaction is that latter refers to “creating their own regional sports network”, which is certainly not what the Angels have done. I think this paragraph could be much clearer.

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  4. Nik says:

    Thome in 2003 helped increase attendance by 630,000. Obviously the Phillies never looked back as CBP opened in 2004.

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  5. Not that I disagree with your premise, Dave, but pointing to two examples is hardly exhaustive research. I think it would bring more credibility if you looked at a larger sample size over all sorts of situations. Additionally, it HAS been established that winning brings out more fans and undoubtedly Pujols will add wins to the bottom line. The effect is most likely exaggerated by those crafting a narrative, but I would think the Angels revenue will be higher with Pujols than without him.

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    • tangotiger says:

      http://www.ussmariner.com/2011/11/17/star-players-and-attendance/

      And, Dave said the wins he generates will lead to higher attendance.

      He said: “Pujols will produce revenue for the Angels above and beyond”

      So, he’s talking about the extra star-power, beyond the wins he’d generate.

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      • Thanks, I missed the link towards the end as I started skimming after the Griffey nod.

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      • CaR says:

        Phony defensive metrics renders year to year WAR values pointless. That type of modeling leads one to make statements such as: Franklin Gutierrez was worth 28 mil. a couple of seasons ago. Funny, as much as its stated here that teams use your modeling, it didn’t seem as though his next contract reflected his WAR totals for the previous season.

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      • Tree Climber says:

        Actually he said, “However, there’s simply not much evidence that Pujols will produce revenue for the Angels above and beyond what he’ll add through helping the team accomplish those goals. ”

        Back in 2007 when the Mariners signed a 34 year old slap hitter to a nearly $100 million 5 year extension Cameron wrote this:

        “Based on normal inflation, and teams agreeing with my analysis of Ichiro’s value in terms of wins, we would have expected Ichiro to have signed for something like $121 million over 5 years this winter.

        5 years, $100 million for Ichiro. It’s a lot of money. It’s also a pretty massive bargain at the same time.

        Congratulations to the Mariners for signing a true superstar to a below market contract. ”

        http://www.ussmariner.com/2007/07/11/ichiro-20-million-a-year/

        Mr. #6 org strikes again.

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      • CaR says:

        Tree Climber- funny stuff. Do you ever wonder what the catalyst was behind adding the esoteric stats (you know, all those that are based on the subjective opinions of those who “get it”) come from when calculating WAR? Amazingly, several ‘breakthroughs’ coincide with Dave’s off-season Mariner plans, published elsewhere.

        Go through the timeline sometime. Dave blows Rual Ibanez’ decline for several years, all of a sudden, a metric starts getting promoted stating that he loses 40 runs/replacement level/year. Intelligent people start questioning Ichiro’s awesomeness per his contract. Suddenly, baserunning stats from first to third account for a WAR point. And so on. Conspiracy theory, I know.

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      • Math4Fun says:

        Or it’s just logic.

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    • Jason says:

      http://www.ussmariner.com/2011/11/17/star-players-and-attendance/

      Also includes Jayson Werth, Miguel Cabrera, Barry Zito, Carlos Lee, Mike Hampton.

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  6. JayT says:

    I agree completely Dave. When looking at free agents, I think that teams should be looking at what gives them the best chance to put a playoff team on the field, because in the end that’s what’s proven to bring the most fans out to the park.

    One weird thing about the Angels signing Pujols though, is that there really isn’t that much room for improvement in their attendance numbers. They drew the third most fans in the AL last year and averaged about 40K fans per game. I guess they are shooting for the money the post season brings.

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  7. Babip Avengers says:

    I certainly agree with your reading, that star players don’t drive attendance when teams are not winning; in other words, a star player’s ability to drive attendance can’t overcome a team’s suckitude. But I’d say that the question remains: all else being equal, does having a star player result in increased attendance?

    I’m guessing that owners don’t really think about this question; they likely understand that winning drives attendance and make moves like this with the intention of winning more games, even if it doesn’t work out that way.

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  8. The Angels will be competitive however, so its very different than the Rangers or Reds, when they brought in their respective hall of famers. The Angels will see the attendance spike with bringing in Pujols and then contending keep that attendance consistent. Also, the reason Moreno could go out and spend this much was because he negotiated the new TV deal, they did not sign Pujols to renegotiate the TV deal. They signed Pujols because of the new tv deal

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    • Joe says:

      I wonder how much capacity the Angels attendance has left to grow. It’s a very popular team, but its a big stadium. They seem to draw really well already, but I’d like to know how many more people they could fit in there- if it’s 20,000 per game than there’s legit room to grow, if it’s 2,000, the “he draws more fans” has no weight.

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      • john says:

        Even if stadium capacity is capped you can still add revenue through higher ticket prices, luxury boxes, etc. If demand is high enough that is.

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      • Andrew says:

        Actually, depending on what type of fans Pujols is drawing, 2000 fans a game is a fair amount of revenue. In 2011 the average cost of a general ticket in Anaheim was $17.13 and average cost of luxury ticket was $67.71. If Anaheim only plays 80 home games a year (which they will probably see a couple of postseason runs during Pujols’ tenor) over a 10 year period, 2000 fans gm/year for 10 years is 1.6 million additional persons in stands. If those are all luxury tickets that is $108 mil generated by Pujols, and if those are all general tickets then he will generate $27.4 million.

        Lot of assumptions make this not very useful, but just shows that even if Pujols only manages to draw a few fans a year, there could potentially be a measurable impact on revenue.

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  9. Nik says:

    Also not all variables are account for here, as ticket price increases are pretty common after big FA spending sprees as they are seen as justified.

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  10. jcxy says:

    i think this is an excellent refresher about league rules regarding merchandising sharing et al, but i question some of the assumptions you make that allow you to compare griffey/arod’s signings to the pujols signing.

    for starters, as you correctly point out, both teams stunk in the years subsequent to their signing. but is it a safe assumption that this will be the case for the angels as well? although it’s anyone’s guess, the angels would seem to have more, cheap talent than either of those teams had. neither, fwiw, had a mike trout or a jered weaver on their roster.

    second, while you showed that big FA acquisitions don’t necessarily boost attendance compared to expectation, is it fair to conclude that both teams did not receive bumps in attendance as a result of those signings as you suggest? while i see the merit in comparing attendance gains/losses to league average, i think this misses an underlying point. what would attendance have been like in texas, for instance, if arod were not there? the team would have been much worse…and bad teams draw fewer fans…so without arod, attendance would have been worse, right? (And look at what arod delivered per WAR during those texas years…texas got more than fair value in return.)

    still, you’re right (generally) that winning is the surest way to expand your team’s brand, not through acquiring a “marketable” player.

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  11. Anon says:

    Both of these examples showed a significant attendance boost in year one. However, both of these examples are for losing teams. Two is hardly a large sample size.

    Why not compare expected attendance (considering winning percentage and team attendance history) to resulting attendance?

    Also, some financial analysis on how attendance would affect present value of the contract would be great.

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  12. Colin says:

    Was thinking more of the Miami Marlins when I read the title.

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  13. cable fixer says:

    quick question:

    do MLB teams have to divide playoff merchandising revenue evenly?

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  14. Omar says:

    Yeah this is pretty dumb, fans like to see winners and if big signings bring winning teams then they bring a jump at the gate too. The Angels do pretty well at the gate selling 86 perent of their seats, but if you don’t think they’ll see a jump at the gate with the greatest player of the generation I don’t know what to tell you. I’ll grant you that if the team sucks in two years they probably won’t do that well, but that’s ore that a shitty team gets shitty gate numbers.

    But as others have mentioned there’s other factors. The Yankees had 21 games this year that were effected by rain, you don’t think they saw more people staying home because they didn’t want to have to go all the way to the Stadium in the rain? There’s other teams that probably saw similar effects at the gate. The economy in certain cities and the cost of tickets also matter too. Quality of the Stadium too…the As or the Rays couldn’t get big attendance no matter what they do in those dumps.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      “The Angels do pretty well at the gate selling 86 perent of their seats, but if you don’t think they’ll see a jump at the gate with the greatest player of the generation I don’t know what to tell you.”

      Well, Arod was also the greatest player of the generation and you can see the results of his signing. The whole point of the article is that big ticket signings don’t drive long-term attendance based on star power. Yes, if your big ticket signing helps you win games, it’ll help ticket sales. But that’s because of the wins, not because of the star power. The wins are included in the $4.5MM/WAR (or $5MM, whichever is used these days).

      A lot of comments in other threads say “You can’t use $4.5MM/WAR because that doesn’t consider the side benefits of signing Pujols!”. If I’m reading the article correctly, Dave is saying that these side benefits are negligible.

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      • Train says:

        well at least one person understood the article

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      • B N says:

        A-Rod was also a fairly unliked player for nearly his entire career and had the nickname “The Cooler.” It’s impossible to judge people’s desire to go see him play without considering that also.

        Not that I think Pujols will bring some great attendance windfall, but I am relatively certain that he would have put more butts in the seats than A-Rod for the Rangers, even if he was technically not worth as much WAR.

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      • Turk's Teeth says:

        “well at least one person understood the article”

        The article’s conclusion is not adequately supported by the evidence. Nor is it apt — the Angels are not a mid-market team, nor do they have volatile attendance, nor do they need to depend on ticket sales for revenue.

        The Angels have drawn in excess of 3.1M fans each season for over a decade, and they have a 20 year guaranteed TV contract that promises >150M a season.

        So again, what do the Reds and Griffey Jr have in common with the Angels and Pujols? Nothing. The year after the Reds acquired Griffey Jr, the Angels almost doubled Cincy’s attendance, and the 2001 Angels were a crappy 75 win team whose star player was Darin Erstad.

        Again, attendance is moot — the Angels attendance is essentially a given, and with low ticket prices, a competitive team, and no football franchise, that’s not gonna change.

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      • CheeseWhiz says:

        Turk Teeth

        Again you are missing the premise of the article. This is not some attack on the Angel’s organization, he’s not criticizing the signing itself or saying that they can’t afford it. He’s simply responding to a very common assertion that happens with every big free agent signing. Just look through the comments after the Pujols signing, or the Ryan Howard extension or whatever. You’ll see a chorus of people saying that attendance and merchandise sales will offset a portion of the contract because of their ‘star power’. It’s understandable, intuitively it seems plausible, even likely. Dave is just doing us a favor by reminding us that while it’s a tempting idea, it isn’t backed up the data.

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  15. Reality says:

    “Even if every person to walk through the gates in Anaheim next year purchased a Pujols jersey, the Angels wouldn’t get much benefit from those sales.”

    I could be wrong, but I believe merchandise sold at the stadium does go directly to the team and not shared. Not that it makes a huge difference, but if anyone knows for sure and can confirm/deny, that would be great.

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    • Barkey Walker says:

      I thought the same thing. The question is, are many even sold at the stadium? Who gets the money for out of town jerseys? (i.e. do the Angels get the money from an Pujols jersey sold during an away game?)

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    • Anon says:

      I would like this answer as well. (I don’t want to pay extra for merchandise at the stadium if the team has to split that revenue.)

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  16. TheGrandslamwich says:

    Does anyone know an effective website that lists the TV deals for MLB teams?

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  17. CircleChange11 says:

    I think the point about jerseys is an excellent one, and one that needed to be made in response to those that were making the suggestion that LAA will be raking in a ton of money from all those #5 jerseys being sold.

    However, I think most are looking at the situation that LAA just went from #2 in the division to #1, and that (the expectations) are likely going to increase attendance due to winning.

    But, the LAA can also raise ticket prices with success due to Pujols, and as long as they have similar attendance will make more money.

    In short, I don’t think everyone saying that LAA will make more money in the long run are saying it because people “will flock just to see Pujols”, but rather they’ll flock to see a combination of a really good Angels team due, in part, to a once in a generation superstar. Pujols as a Pittsburg Pirate probably has little effect on sustained attendance, and I don’t think many are making a suggestion like that.

    The Angels didn’t just jump up in team quality, but also marketability and organizational value. Given their starting rotation, Albert Pujols, their prospects … there just aren’t many teams that are as exciting as what they may be. Given the size of their market, this could be something propels the LAA into being something like the 3rd most valuable or recognizable organization in baseball.

    Even with winning a world series, I don’t think LAA has really made their mark on baseball, where we have a lasting impression of their influence. That could all change now. They are at the point where they have been good for a decade, and could be really dominant for 5 years.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      Regarding your 4th paragraph about people flocking to the parks to see Pujols, I think that’s exactly why Dave wrote this article. People *are* saying that the contract needs to take into account his star power and not just the on-field performance. If people weren’t making these claims, I don’t think an article would have been written on the topic.

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  18. Colin P says:

    People were also excited about the Reds in 2000 because they reached a one game playoff with the Mets in 1999. Fans thought the Griffey acquisition would propel them to the Series, only to later learn that the 1999 team was driven by a bunch of overachievers who couldn’t replicate (like Pokey Reese). So Griffey wasn’t just everything that Dave said, he was viewed as the last big chip.

    Throw in to the Griffey point the fact that he was chasing home run milestones when the Reds got him (something that is often trumpeted by teams when signing guys like A Rod and Pujols). I remember the Reds had a big homer-counting sign in right center, and that wasn’t exactly a draw. A lot of fans soured on Griffey because he didn’t deliver on those playoff promises. Not that it was his fault at all, but he did get a lot of flak for it.

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    • Barkey Walker says:

      “Throw in to the Griffey point the fact that he was chasing home run milestones when the Reds got him (something that is often trumpeted by teams when signing guys like A Rod and Pujols).”

      I’d just as soon watch a robot hit a milestone as A Rod.

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    • TheUncool says:

      There’s another problem w/ the Griffey case. He did *NOT* actually produce like ARod did after going to Cincy — according to fWAR, Junior only had 1 lone season that was all that much better than 3 WARs after going to Cincy, and that was the very first year.

      I would hope the Angels (and their fans and anyone arguing in favor of the $$$ being spent on Pujols) are expecting Pujols to continue to produce at his usual MVP caliber level at least for the next few years, if not longer. The star can only shine so bright for so long if the player stops producing for whatever reasons…

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      • Colin says:

        He didn’t produce, but he was unexpectedly devastated by injuries and Reds fans had similar expectations for him that Angels fans have now for Pujols. They were getting (arguably) one of the game’s best talents with some of his prime years left.

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  19. TK says:

    What is the average revenue added by one additional ticket sold? It seems as though Griffey may have made the Reds $10 million or more based on his name alone in his first season. Unfortunately, he didn’t come close to matching his contract on the field throughout the contract.

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  20. Ed says:

    There’s one big flaw in this. The revenue sharing of merchandise is drawn from the wholesale revenue, not retail revenue. A jersey sold at the stadium is treated no differently than a jersey sold at Sports Authority – the retailer keeps most of the price paid by the customer.

    That’s why Manny was huge for the Dodgers – they were selling his jerseys for hundreds of dollars at the stadium, while wholesale was only a small fraction of that.

    Another way this works are team stores. I know the Yankees have Clubhouse Stores scattered all over NYC. It’s just a team run store full of Yankees merchandise – the same sort of stuff you can buy at MLB.com. These wouldn’t at all be sustainable if the revenue sharing was based off retail prices. I imagine other teams do similar things as well.

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  21. Robbie G. says:

    “By the time the Angels television contract is up for renegotiation again, Pujols’ days will be long since finished, and his presence on the roster a decade prior won’t have much impact on what kind of deal the franchise will be able to negotiate in 2031.”

    I view a big splash move such as the Albert Pujols signing, as well as all of the marketing efforts centered around Pujols the L.A. Angel, as exercises in branding. The Angels are significantly strengthening their brand by signing the greatest hitter of his generation, a marquee name. Folks thus associate Pujols with the Angels and equate Pujols’ excellence with the Angels. This association will hopefully have an extremely positive impact on the Angels brand, which, in my view, WILL likely have an impact on the sort of TV deal the Angels organization can negotiate for itself twenty years from now.

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  22. Husker says:

    Dave Cameron’s two articles are good and interesting, but I believe that at least two much more important points are being missed altogether.
    Most (including all the best) of the arguments for and against the amount of the Pujols contract are based on assumptions about Pujol’s future WAR, the market value of a win and inflation.
    One of those assumptions, the market value of a win, presumably already includes considerations of potential increased revenue from star value and from having a better team. To treat those as “additional” reasons is clearly fallacious.
    The second is that nobody seems to have incorporated risk into their calculations, not the team management, the writers or the commenters.
    There is certainly a much higher than zero possibility that Pujols will contribute far less than anybody’s projected WAR for him would indicate thru lack of performance due to any number of reasons, injury chief among them.
    It is a fact, not just my opinion, that this $250M investment is a poor one.

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    • Crap Shoot says:

      Actually, that’s an opinion.

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      • Husker says:

        The fact that it is a poor investment is just that. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible that, against the odds, it may turn out well, but it is objectively a poor risk.

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    • Ari Collins says:

      Most projections build in the risk of collapse. Otherwise, Pujols would be projected much higher.

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      • Husker says:

        That is simply not true. No projections I have seen of baseball player’s performance, professional or amateur, take risk into account. The professional ones explicitly say that risk of injury is not taken into account.

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      • Barkey Walker says:

        The FG 0.5 WAR/year includes the possibility of complete collapse. Obviously, this should be non-linear, but saber guys hang on to linearity like a dog holds onto its chew toy.

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    • TheUncool says:

      I’m sure the Angels plan on buying some insurance on Pujols though.

      Not saying I totally disagree w/ you, but they are probably factoring risk a bit more than you give them credit for.

      Now, if we’re talking about the 70′s and probably much of the 80′s, then yeah, they were probably still learning some hard lessons on the need for insurance coverage on big $$$ FA signings. Then again, they also hadn’t spent quite *THAT* much on FAs yet at that point despite the dramatic climbs in salaries.

      There are probably a fair amount things going behind the scenes that are not readily accountable by us outsiders trying to figure this stuff out…

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      • Husker says:

        Insurance would be a substantial extra cost on top of the quarter billion, and it would only pay in case of injury. There’s no insurance against lack of performance for other reasons, including age.

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      • TheUncool says:

        But the biggest issue w/ a case like Pujols would likely be injury though.

        He’s about as durable and proven a superstar as they come — more so than ARod was when he signed w/ Texas and also more so than Griffey when he got traded.

        The one strike in this aspect is his age (vs ARod) and what seems like a real potential that his nagging injuries might finally start to catch up w/ him as seen in 2011.

        Anyway, would still be good for something like this to factor in insurance (and other aspects) rather than completely ignore it.

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  23. Steve Balboni says:

    They also get revenues from marketing partners.

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  24. Brian says:

    The two examples provided ignore two shockingly obvious considerations:
    1) The ARod and Griffey examples of “declining attendance” coincidentally align with a pretty severe recession / stock market decline. Attendance across MLB was down materially.
    2) Attendance is likely no more material than pricing, both for tickets, concessions, parking, etc. Teams signing big time players generally increase the revenue per attendee which is likely significant.

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    • Husker says:

      Both parts of this argument require proof.

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      • TheUncool says:

        Yes, if he’s trying to convince you of those things, then he should prove them to you.

        Likewise, if Dave wants to convince us of his beliefs on this matter, he should provide a more adequate proof than what he’s done in this article.

        There really are plenty of holes in Dave’s “proof” here to drive a few large trucks through.

        Just offering a few vague pieces of cursory evidence to argue a point doesn’t make it a solid proof at all. It’s a reasonble start to a good discussion on the subject, but really far from being a proof that’s worth much of anything.

        Now, I’m definitely not one to argue that Pujols’ biggest return will be based on his “star power” (above his actual on-field performance), but Dave hasn’t really proven much of anything at all…

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    • GoateesOnly says:

      If you want more evidence for #1, simply read the linked USSM article.

      #2 has been brought up a lot in the discussion here, but I’ve yet to see anything but vague anecdotes. It’s an interesting point though, total ticket revenue would be a much better y-axis.

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  25. Mike in Milwaukee says:

    One nit-pick on merch sales, and certainly not a deal-breaker on the argument: teams pocket in-stadium merch revenue. The equal division of merch sales only applies to third-party stores and licenses, like if you buy a Rays shirt at Target, or something. If it’s bought in the official team store, however, it goes to the team.

    Like I said, nit-pick and only a marginal difference, no one’s making $25MM in annual marginal revenue based on one player’s impact on team store sales.

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    • Husker says:

      I’m glad you contributed that fact. I was wondering why teams would have all those merchandise vendors in the parks and team stores if they had to share the revenue.
      So the Giants do actually profit from all those stupid beards and Panda hats.

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  26. Random Guy says:

    I do think there’s another intangible benefit in bringing credibility to the franchise for other free agents. The Angels signed C.J. Wilson to what was generally agreed around here to be a pretty favorable deal. Do they get that deal if Pujols isn’t there? Sign some big-ticket players and others will naturally want to follow. This assumes, of course, that the team has the resources to sign those others — the fatal flaw of the A-Rod signing in Texas.

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    • TheUncool says:

      Agreed to some extent.

      It’s the Warren Buffett effect — or rather, what he often looks for in his investment choices.

      Brand name may well be very important though we have no solid idea how important that really is for an MLB franchise (and its owners), except when considering the sale of a franchise perhaps (as periodically estimated by the likes of Forbes, et al).

      It probably has an effect (at least) somewhat comparable to how stock prices/valuations rise and fall whether because of or despite actual performances of their respective companies…

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  27. Metsox says:

    FWIW, and I don’t know if anyone mentioned this above, but David Berri has analyzed the same question in the NBA and found the same result. It’s wins that matter for attendance, not the “star quality” of the player.

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  28. kick me in the GO NATS says:

    Dave,

    I am not sure if anyone brought this up because I read about half the comments, but don’t teams usually spike up ticket prices the year they sign a big star. Lower attendance could lead to higher revenue if ticket prices were high enough. Has anyone looked at this idea from revenues?

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  29. Giants2012? says:

    Bruce Bochy’s head size: http://baselol.com/?p=156

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  30. B N says:

    I have to say, this analysis was far weaker than most on the site. A list of random cases is not exactly “evidence,” especially when one only really analyzes two of them.

    If we wanted to look at this more systematically, couldn’t we see how attendance varies as a function of:
    A. Wins provided by top player (using some time-averaged WAR maybe).
    B. Wins provided by remainder of team

    I would indeed imagine that teams with wide disparities of talent will be far more entertaining to watch than those very tightly clumped. You don’t avoid going to a game because Harang is on the mound, but you might go to an extra game if Kershaw is starting that night.

    Alternatively, one could look at something like Wins and a WAR GINI-coefficient for starting players (e.g. performance disparity). Since wins and the distribution of who provides those wins are primarily different things, that would also approach this problem a bit more methodically.

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    • GoateesOnly says:

      No matter what you prove, somebody would say THIS situation is different because it’s Pujols and the contract is BIG!

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  31. Marver says:

    “That essentially leaves revenues from items related to stadium attendance – ticket sales, parking, concessions – as the one area where Pujols could generate an increase in profits for the Angels.”

    Besides what has already been mentioned — retail revenue from merchandise sales — you are also forgetting that their ability to procure significant media contracts in the future will be predicated on their ability to sustain viewership over the length of their historical contracts. Demonstrating willingness to bring in superior talent (at whatever cost) has potential for profits down-the-line during the next phase of negotiations, and I don’t think you’ve seriously considered that (or at least didn’t mention it).

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    • TheUncool says:

      In all fairness, Dave did point out the Angels won’t be renegotiating TV revenues for a very long time.

      However, I’m curious to know whether the new TV deal essentially done just ahead of the Pujols signing doesn’t actually require the Angels to apply some level of due diligence in putting a highly marketable product on the field, including making solid efforts to go after someone like Pujols when the opp arises.

      Maybe Fox is really that dumb to not stipulate something before doling out such huge $$$ to the Angels for a long time to come, but I find that kinda hard to believe.

      Likewise, I think people are being a bit naive if they really think that *all* of these franchises and *all* of their owners are such terrible business-folk as to make what would seem like terrible deals to us outsiders. Well, ok, not everyone here feels Pujols’ (or ARod’s first big) contract is a bad idea, but I’m not buying the idea that we know *all* there is to know about the $$$ side of this business to be able to pass very solid judgement against every single owner who gives out such big contracts.

      Yes, I agree some cases do seem bad enough that no amount of behind-the-scenes and/or hidden-in-plain-sight workings can offset what’s clearly visible to us, but I think there’s definitely more to it all than what’s typically brought up around the watercooler on a given Monday morning…

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      • Husker says:

        I really hate the “they must know something we don’t” argument, especially with the track record of baseball management. This signing could just be for Moreno’s ego for all we know.

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      • TheUncool says:

        Sure. I definitely wouldn’t put it past the ego thing at all.

        What I meant is that we shouldn’t be too quick to level the same kind of judgement against *ALL* such cases.

        Certainly, ego/pride comes into play somewhere in there, but how much though?

        RE: your dislike for the “unknown” point, well, just look at Dave’s “proof” and we see plenty of unknowns or misled/misleading conclusions.

        I’m not suggesting all these big $$$ contracts are made as sound businesss decisions at all. I thought I made that pretty clear. I’m just saying there’s probably more to know than what’s detailed as facts here so far. For instance, what’s really the truth about merchandising? Doesn’t sound like Dave got it all right, if all that much at all. And as I said before, I’m not even one to espouse the notion that “star power” should be a main justifier for such deals.

        Look at it this way. I’ve been playing fantasy baseball (and do pretty well at it in multiple formats) for roughly a decade now. And I most definitely am not one to overpay on stars in 99% of instances. But there are exceptional situations where it might be necessary (or even makes just the right sense) to overpay (or do what seems like overpaying) in order to be successful. Those things are often not adequately accounted for in these types of simplistic, offhanded evaluations such as done in Dave’s article above. And before you say MLB is not fantasy baseball, I’d point out that much of what constitutes the sabermetrics view on these matters actually align quite well w/ fantasy baseball — very likely closer than to real life MLB to a very great extent.

        The ideas behind Moneyball isn’t (or shouldn’t be anyway) about being frugal/thrifty no matter what. Value for value’s own sake doesn’t yield great success. It can yield *safe* performance, but safe very often yields not much more than mediocrity.

        Getting back to the “unknowns” about the business side of the equation, are you telling me you can easily tell whether a company is a very solid company and worth gambling your lifesavings just by looking at its publicly available periodic reports and a few financial analysts’ forecasts? They certainly seem to provide more readily accessible info to the public than MLB and its various franchises. And yet, no, you won’t know and wouldn’t/shouldn’t bet the farm (probably not even on a reasonably diversified stock-only portfolio) — and those numerous reports and analyses will all have disclaimers as well about any predicted future performance.

        So if you cannot be so confident about publicly held corporations in the USA, then why be so confident that we know enough about the MLB and all its franchises to be sure about our scope-limited judgements are all that solid?

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      • Anthony says:

        Does anyone know if there is an opt-out clause for Arte in this new deal?

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  32. cs3 says:

    Dave’s main argument is that winning, and not star players, drives attendance.

    But then he completely ignores the fact that those very star players are often what helps teams win more games.
    Not sure if he did this intentionally or not, but either way it really cuts into the credibility of the article.

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    • Husker says:

      “the fact that those very star players are often what helps teams win more games” is already (presumably) factored into the market value of wins on the FA market.
      This is redundant, not an additional value.

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  33. Mike says:

    A big difference between the Rangers/Reds big signing and the Angels big signing is that the Rangers/Reds were basically terrible teams and it was going to take more than just a big signing to sustain long term attendance. It also takes wins, and baseball is not like basketball where one guy can be the difference between a Championship caliber team or a cellar dweller (see Lebron James).

    With the Angels, they should be a top 10 teams at the worst for the next 3-4 years with their staff and young guys. They were already good and these signing should make them great. With Pujols and their local stars (CJ and Weaver) they just guaranteed sellouts or near sellouts for nearly every game at least for the next 2-3 years because they should win and now have star power. If they continue to win, then they will be like the Phillies where every single game is basically a sell out and has been for the last 2-3 years

    Mike
    ScalperSecrets.org

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    • Husker says:

      You offer a lot of speculation and no facts.

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      • Art says:

        So does the article….

        It uses two variables to account for attendance variation (the ARod signing and w/l record)

        No look at the macro environment (what were MLB attendance trends?),
        No look at “micro” variables (other signings/losses, ticket prices, local economic conditions, relative strength of other teams in division)

        It would also be easy to plot the Rays attendance and say look win/loss doesn’t matter…. (which of course would be a bad conclusion to make)

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  34. The projections that show an average of 0.5 decrease in WAR include wins lost due to games missed via injury, not just decreased performance.

    If we were to calculate Pujols games played, we’d likely use a 5/3/1 weighting to his games played over the last 3 years.

    So, situations like Junior are included in the sample that averages out to – .5 WAR per season past the prime ages.

    So, when people project Pujols value they use the .5 number because it has the highest certainty. If we assume, more or less decrease we are using less supported values.

    Pujols has had some injuries in his career. But they’ve generally been short absences and he’s come back very effectively. A chunk of Pujols’s decrease has been defense where he’s been slightly above league average rather than the +15 and above that he has been during some years.

    But in regards to projecting injuries, you use past player performance and possibly regressed to the average of a larger sample of players of the same age and position.

    If Pujols suffers a catastrophic collision at 1B that results in a career threatening injury, that would be an outlier. But such events are also included in the data that produces figures like the 0.5 figure.

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    • TheUncool says:

      Also, most/all(?) such catastrophic outlier events are likely to be covered at least partially by insurance me thinks.

      I wonder if the insurance part of the business has progressed to the point of covering actual player performance and such vs merely whether the player is healthy/active for some percentage of each season (or the like).

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      • Husker says:

        Insurance against injury is a substantial extra cost. I don’t know how much injury insurance would be on one quarter billion, but it would certainly be at least several tens of millions.
        No insurance companies would insure against reduced performance for unknown reasons.

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    • Husker says:

      This is simply not true. No projections include a deduction for potential injury. The 0.5 convention includes no such thing.

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  35. So, rather than asking if Pujols is an injury risk (all players have some risk), we’d be better off asking how much risk of injury is there.

    We’d then compare Pujols GP to other 1B and players of similar age. We’d likely conclude that durable players that play less demanding positions are more likely to remain durable than to turn into chronically injured players.

    For someone to state that Pujols is going to be injured a lot and have greatly reduced value, would be IMO to ignore the bulk of the data and established projection methods.

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    • Husker says:

      Again, lots of speculation with no facts.

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    • Husker says:

      Also, you have set up a strawman. Nobody said Pujols is going to be injured a lot–just that the possibility would be considered in a rational setting of the contract price, plus failure of performance due to other unknows reasons, as happens in the cases of many players.

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    • TheUncool says:

      Agreed.

      Consider the Griffey case that Dave brought up (vs the ARod case also).

      I don’t have the details in front of me now, but I definitely recall having some impression that Griffey was one of the more injury prone superstars by the time he was traded to Cincy. Ok, injury-prone might be a slight be strong, but he most definitely was not anything like Pujols in terms of durability (and toughness when needing to play thru nagging injuries). And if he wasn’t already injury-prone before heading to Cincy, he certainly became that afterward.

      A quick look at Griffey’s career on this site shows that he only surpassed the 150-game mark 3 out of the 6 years before heading to Cincy — and he didn’t actually exceed 140 games in any of those other 3 years either. He only averaged 133.5 games/year in those 6 years, and those should’ve been his prime health+production years (from ages 24 thru 29) — even if he wasn’t at his most durable, you can’t really expect him to be tremendously more so in later years although he did have his most durable years in those last 3 (from 27 thru 29).

      Also, even in ARod’s case, it’s arguable that he hadn’t proven himself to be a very durable superstar yet when he signed w/ the Rangers although he did end up being very durable until his new renegotiated deal w/ the Yanks.

      So neither one was nearly as proven+durable as Pujols has been upto this point. Still, the health issue seems very real w/ Pujols since it does seem like it’s starting to hinder his actual on-field performance some of late *PLUS* he’s not nearly as young now as ARod was when ARod signed w/ Texas.

      One other thing about the rather simplistic aging curve used here on this site. It doesn’t seem like it adequately accounts for the non-linear way people’s health/productivity/etc. is impacted by age. There’s some arbitrariness to how people here choose when to start discounting for age w/ that -0.5 WAR value in order to try to roughly account for it, eg. don’t do the reduction until after a pick-your-prime-age point perhaps.

      Although it’s been pointed out and discussed on occasion, I would think there should be different “age” curves for different player types considered here. Given how sabermetrics tend to work, I would’ve thought there’s also something of a “true superstar” type of age curve as well — well, not literally speaking of course, but sorta like how folks like to call everything as-yet-unknown just “luck”, if you know what I mean…

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      • Josh says:

        Well the idea that the age curve is decreasing in a linear fashion is foolish, its just a lot simpler to calculate -.5 wins every year then it is to plug into a negative logarithmic function.

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  36. Prince Albert says:

    I think what we’re seeing is a case of antiangelsitis by another stathead (see Neyer, Rob). What’s up with statheads hating the Angels? Is it because Mike Scioscia disproves their algorithms?

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  37. Josh says:

    2 issues with this article

    1) IIRC the merchandise sale in the stadium is actually team revenue, its the sale through mlb shop and other retailers (modells, etc.) that is shared. BUt in the stadium and team stores its their money.

    2) Arod increased tickets sales 200k on a bad texas team his first year there, but then the team continued to suck.. my question would be, if they didn’t have arid and the team continued to suck, how many fewer tickets would they have sold. Its apparent that winning sells tickets better then one individual player, but an individual player can def boost sales. if we assume that arid had a similar 200k impact on his own… if average ticket price was say $15, and those 200k people also each got a hot dog soda, and snack.. they are spending 30-40 per person. 200k times $35 is $7 million in extra revenue, and I think thats a lot amount per person when they go to a ballgame.. some guys buy a few beers and that would put that price closer to 60-70 which would be upwards of 14 million in extra revenue… and of course there is parking fees merchandise etc.

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  38. Art says:

    Dave this is really shoddy work which has 2 basic problems:

    1) Are there any other significant variables beyond W/L record and the ARod signing impacting Rangers attendance in that period? (this article reads like there are no other considerations)

    2) If you are positing simple W/L is what really drives the attendance… does the change in Rangers attendance track with this?
    In other words even if the attendance is GENERALLY tracking with winning/losing is it doing so proportionately? If the attendance from 2002 to 2003 dropped because the Rangers, did it drop by an expected value? Did you consider the possibility that ARod still had an effect and it fell off at a lower rate? (or was your mind already made up so it wasn’t worth looking at)

    In short you did nothing to isolate variables and this is a really poor effort for an analytical site like this
    - the Rangers attendance should have been normalized (or at least plotted side by side) with MLB attendance to consider any macro factors
    - the attendamce should have been normalized to some sort of w/l record (playoff odds) since that is your theory
    - other variables should have looked at/considered … attendance vs ticket price, attendance vs local income, etc.

    In short you didn’t disprove anything…..you took a very complex variable (attendance) and dumbed it down to 2 variables to suit the purpose of your article and as an added dis-service to the readers you didn’t even bother to look at one of the variables (winning/losing) properly..

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    • rogue_actuary says:

      I don’t think Dave’s intention was to be super analytical. I think it was to say “hey, everybody always says that there is a big boost to revenues from signing a big free agent, but, … that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

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  39. river-z says:

    This is obviously short-term rather than long-term, but the LATimes is reporting that in the two days after the Pujols/Wilson deals the Angels have sold 1000 season tickets and 500 smaller ticket packages.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-1210-albert-pujols-contract-20111210,0,6002885.story

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  40. Ian Thomas Roberts says:

    Albert Pujols in an Angels uniform for the second half of his career changes the perception of the franchise in a way that the acquisition of no other player in baseball could. Attendance might not increase, but their fan base certainly will. You have to consider the kids who might have become lifelong fans of the Dodgers or Yankees or Red Sox, who will now grow up fans of the Angels. This will greatly increase the resale value of the Angels franchise years down the road, and to the owner, that is what is really important. We will still see the Angels as a middle of the pack expansion team without a lot of history or hall of fame power, but the next generation of fans might perceive the Angels as a storied, historically significant franchise in the same class as the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants, Cubs, Cards and Braves.

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  41. Jason says:

    I have to say, Dave’s machinations about the Pujols signing are a little amusing. Nothing says “I’ve decided the result of my ‘research’ before I started it.” like a non-randomly selected sample size of 2.

    The Mariners are going to have to pitch to Pujols a lot over the coming years. Look on the bright side, Dave. Maybe that great market inefficiency of defensive runs saved the Mariners are cleverly working will make a few of those doubles into singles…..

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  42. Antonio Bananas says:

    So signing Halladay and Lee didn’t keep the Philly attendance up? It’s all about expectations. if you sign Alex Rodriguez, and your team is still going to suck, no one cares. If you sign Pujols and Wilson and people think you’re going to win the world series, and you sold out every game last year, you can increase tickets. Plus ad revenue, etc could also go up.

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    • barry_kent says:

      That’s sort of the point, isn’t it, that winning, not signing big names, drives ticket sales? If that’s over your head, then I don’t know what to say.

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  43. Tree Climber says:

    Is it coincidental that Cameron used only ARod joining the Rangers as an example when ARod joining the Yanks has far more in common with Pujols’ signing.

    3,465,807 – 2002 Yanks attendance Pre-ARod
    3,465,600 – 2003 Yanks attendance Pre-ARod
    3,775,292 – 2004 Yanks attendance with ARod
    4,090,696 – 2005 Yanks attendance with ARod
    4,248,067 – 2006 Yanks attendance with ARod
    4,271,083 – 2007 Yanks attendance with ARod
    4,298,655 – 2008 Yanks attendance with ARod

    Mr. #6 org strikes again.

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  44. Wade8813 says:

    I wonder if elite starting pitchers have more of an effect, since their effect on each game they’re in is significantly greater?

    For me, if a team had Pujols and Felix, but was bad overall, I wouldn’t want to go see them just for Pujols, but I would just to see Felix. A starting pitcher gives better odds that we’ll at least win that game, and it’s exciting every time he’s pitching as opposed to just a handful of at bats,

    Also, it seems possible that if your team DOES do well after signing a mega-star, you would retain the benefit. Fans wouldn’t get discouraged by your losing and quit going. Although I’m not sure if there’s any way to really test that.

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  45. Matt says:

    I enjoyed this article despite there being only two examples to support the writer’s premise.

    Unfortunately the conclusion “Wins create revenue, not star-attraction players.” was disproved by each of the given examples as in each case the writer concluded there to be a correlation between the signing of a star-player and attendance-spikes during the following season.

    These attendance surges were not prolonged. However the added revenue gained from 85% of 200,000+ ticket-sales can hardly be excluded from the benefits of signing star-players.

    Perhaps re-writing the conclusion to reflect the lack of a sustained ticket sale increase would better reflect the writers point:”Wins, not star-attraction players, create a sustained ticket-sale increase.”

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  46. GeorgeKaplan says:

    This article took an awfully long route to the well just to get a sip of water.

    Pujols will earn his keep for the Angels if:

    ° They advance deep into post-season play where, as the Deadspin docs revealed, big money is made by the team. The underachieving offense of the past two seasons figures to get a jolt from Pujols at least over the next several seasons. The leaked Deadspin papers suggest a combination of 3-1 win in the ALDS, 4-2 win in the ALCS and a six-game WS could fetch $22M in revenue to the team, nearly covering Pujols’ salary solely through rising to the Series (win or lose).

    ° The increased interest in the team in a metro area of over 16M people causes a sustained spike in radio ratings for the team’s broadcasts. Moreno owns the radio station as well, and a jump in radio ad revenue–as Turk’s Teeth pointed out earlier, advertising is Moreno’s stock in trade–will pad the bank balance of the team’s partnership.

    ° The team has an out-clause on its stadium lease coming due in a season or two, and building a dynamo attraction gives Moreno all the leverage in the world to get the most financially advantageous deal on a new facility. I don’t think he’ll leave Anaheim, and will instead move into a new stadium built in the parking lot of the current one, but will secure a leasing deal which brings more revenue to the team.

    ° The team gets an increase in national exposure. The Angels are already getting interest from Fox Sports and ESPN to book the maximum of 5 games each on national television for 2012. I think the Angels at most had 2 games on each in 2011. This, in turn, causes bigger advertisers to buy space on the camera-line sites in the stadium, like the OF fence. Again, Moreno knows advertising inside and out, and this is one more way the exponentially-increased interest in the team due to Pujols will bring more revenue to the team.

    For the Angels, there are many, many ways to bring more money to the team which have nothing to do with simply increasing attendance. Yes, suggesting that increased attendance pays for such a deal is probably a false argument in general, but an intelligent, insightful analysis by Cameron might have instead detailed all the ways that Pujols can bring an increase in revenue to the team.

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  47. pft says:

    “Wins create revenue, not star-attraction players.”

    If Pujols gets the Angels into the post season due to his 6 additional wins that could be as much as 30 million right there.

    Obviously, a team like the Orioles signing Pujols is wasted money, the team would not win enough to draw many more fans. But the Angels are close enough to being a playoff team that the value of an additional W is probably more than average value of 4-5 million.

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  48. willkoky says:

    Has anyone asked the question, “Do foreign players, specifically Japanese, increase attendance and help pay for their own contracts?” I thought I had read that they do but the net is not helping me today except for an academic study that has some holes.

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