Dollars & Sense: A Round-Up Of Baseball Business News

Some weeks, there are major developments in the business of baseball — like a team signing a new local TV contract. Some weeks, there are little developments on the big developments. My posts tend to focus on the big developments, but that leaves you in the dark on the little developments, unless those little developments become big developments down the road.

This week has been full of little developments in stories I’ve written. Rather than wait until they blossom into big developments — if that ever happens — I’ll run them down here.

StubHub loses fight in California Legislature

On Tuesday,  I wrote about a bill pending in the California State Assembly that would prohibit ticket sellers from placing restrictions on ticket re-sales, like what the Los Angeles Angels have done this season. The Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media had a hearing on the bill Tuesday morning and were none too pleased with its provisions. The Committee gutted the bill, and left in only the provision to outlaw computerized ticket-buying software that brokers often use to scoop up tickets to high-demand events. The Committee is stacked with members from southern California, where the entertainment industry holds tremendous sway, so the bill’s demise isn’t surprising.

MLB’s lawsuit against Biogenesis proceeds

The court docket in MLB’s civil lawsuit against Biogenesis and others shows that four of defendants have been served with the complaint: Biogenesis, clinic partners Carlos Acevido and Ricardo Martinez, and Ashley Bosch, the younger brother of Anthony Bosch, the clinic’s director. There’s no indication that Anthony Bosch has been been served. MLB dismissed Paulo da Silveira after it became clear da Silveira was not the black-market chemist described in the complaint. The case now proceeds against Biogenesis, Biokem and five individual defendants.

As I wrote when news of the lawsuit first broke, MLB’s priority appears to be getting its hands on whatever Biogenesis documents still exist. According to the court docket, MLB’s attorneys have made formal requests to the defendants to preserve and produce documents. The league has also scheduled several depositions, although the witnesses to be questioned under oath haven’t been identified on the docket. If witnesses are deposed, look for news about leaked testimony.

Lawsuit over San Jose’s land sale to the A’s proceeds

In September, I wrote about a lawsuit seeking to stop the City of San Jose’s sale of land to the Oakland A’s for the purposes of building a new ballpark downtown. A group called Stand for San Jose initiated the lawsuit and claimed the city’s environmental and traffic studies were flawed and that city voters should have been asked to approve the land deal. Many think Stand for San Jose is just a prop for the San Francisco Giants to stop the A’s move to San Jose. The city and the A’s — who intervened in the action — tried to unmask Stand for San Jose to prove the Giants’ involvement, but the court denied the request. Most recently, the city and the A’s tried to disqualify the attorneys from the Pillsbury Winthrop law firm from representing Stand for San Jose. The court denied that motion, too. With these pre-trial skirmishes out of the way, the case soon may proceed to a court trial.

Marlins’ Second-Year Attendance Near Record Lows Through Nine Games

After Opening Night at Marlins Park this season, I wrote a post comparing the attendance that night to the Opening-Day attendance in the second year of all ballparks built since 2000. The Marlins recorded the lowest attendance on their second Opening Day in the new ballpark, although the Houston Astros were close.

But Opening Day often masks attendance problems because, well, it’s Opening Day. Now that we’re three-plus weeks into the season, the Marlins have had nine home games (or had nine home games, prior to Thursday night’s tilt against the Chicago Cubs). Miami is 5-16, a worse record than the Astros, a team that was predicted to lose more than 110 games this season. Giancarlo Stanton has no lineup protection and his hitting .200/.333/.255. The team has resorted to all sorts of promotions and giveaways just to get fans in the seats at Marlins Ballpark, even if that means the fans don’t pay a dime for their tickets.

And still, after nine games, the Marlins have the second-lowest second-year attendance for all ballparks opened since 2000. Only the Detroit Tigers sold fewer tickets through the first nine games during year No. 2 at Comerica Park. (And yes, the focus is on tickets sold, as that’s how attendance for MLB games is recorded).

Here are the numbers:

Team Ballpark Year Opened Winning Percentage First Year Second-Year Attendance Through 9 Games
Giants AT&T Park 2000 .599 NL West Title 369,144
Tigers Comerica Park 2000 .488 174,952
Astros Minute Maid Park 2000 .444 284,172
Brewers MillerPark 2001 .420 213,085
Pirates PNCPark 2001 .383 203,365
Reds Great American Ballpark 2003 .426 236,227
Phillies Citizens Bank Park 2004 .531 268,704
Padres Petco Park 2004 .537 334,700
Cardinals Busch Stadium 2006 .516 NL Central Title 393,256
Nationals Nationals Park 2008 .366 178,230
Yankees Yankee Stadium 2009 .636 AL East Title 412,967
Mets CitiField 2009 .432 281,987
Twins Target Field 2010 .580 AL Central Title 279,135
Marlins Marlins Park 2012 .426 176,278

And perhaps there will be more bad news for the Marlins: By the season’s end, the team could shatter the record for the lowest attendance in the second year of a ballpark since 2000.




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Wendy also writes for Sports on Earth and Bay Area Sports Guy. She's written for ESPN.com, Baseball Nation and The Wall Street Journal. Wendy practiced law for 18 years before pursuing her passion for baseball. You can follow her writings and ravings on Twitter @hangingsliders.

7 Responses to “Dollars & Sense: A Round-Up Of Baseball Business News”

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  1. Don't Forget! says:

    Nationals/Orioles MASN dispute: still no progress 18 months after it was supposed to be resolved, still nary a peep from Selig’s office.

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  2. Anon says:

    The top two attendance figures on that list (Cardinals and Yankees) both won the World Series in the first year of their new ballpark.

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  3. Shlum says:

    Lineup protection, pshht.

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  4. JuanPierreDoesSteroids says:

    On another Marlins note, Loria personally mandated that Jose Fernandez and Ricky Nolasco switch games during the double header with the Twins. This apparently really really pissed off Redmond and the players. DIdn’t see anything about this on fangraphs yet.

    The legend continues….

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  5. El Vigilante says:

    The Marlins have consistently failed to draw fans. Last year was the first time since 1997 that the team has finished higher than 13th in the NL in attendance. Even with the new stadium, the Marlins drew fewer fans than 11 NL teams. Raw numbers provide very little information. A percentage compared to attendance in year the stadium opened and two+ previous years would better frame this discussion. Plus, with a sample of just 9 games factors like percentage of weekend games and quality of opponent could play a significant role.

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  6. Mr Punch says:

    Good stuff, Wendy. Really appreciate it.

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  7. Jacob Becker says:

    This is awesome, Wendy! You combined me two favorite things in the world, business and sports!

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