A number of reports about the financial health [or lack thereof] of Major League Baseball teams have come out in the last few days and they tell us some interesting things about our home town club, the Washington Nationals.
Before we dive in, though, let's remember that Nationals management recently helped Philadelphia Phillies fans buy large numbers of tickets for opening day at Nationals Park, thus depriving Nats fans of the chance to buy those tickets themselves. In some cases, Nationals management even contacted Phillies fans in order to convince them to purchase tickets before Nats fans did.
In operating income, the Nationals are 3rd out of 30 teams, behind only the Florida Marlins and the Boston Red Sox. That's right, the Nats have more operating income [$33.5 million] than the New York Yankees [24.9 million].
In terms of overall value, the Nats are worth $387 million, 18th overall. Not so great, you might think, but consider that they are worth more than the National League champion Colorado Rockies [$384 million -- 19th] or next-door-neighbor Baltimore Orioles [$376 million -- 21st].
With revenues of $184 million for the most recent year available, the Nationals are 15th overall in the 30-team Majors, ahead of franchises in Colorado, Texas, Arizona and Cleveland. Well behind teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, of course, but by no means at a financial disadvantage compared to the rest of Major League Baseball.
So remember those numbers the next time Nationals management pleads poverty as a reason for why they are not pursuing valuable free agents for this talent-poor team.
But what about the game day experience? What are fans getting for their money? Well, you already know about the team -- they specialize in losing 100 games a year. What about the price of getting into the stadium and "enjoying" a game? Let's have a look at the new numbers from Team Marketing Report.
|Fan Cost Index [FCI]||$194.98||$215.52|
|FCI % change from last year||-0.7%||0.0%|
So there you have it. On most items at the stadium, including ticket price, the Nationals are more expensive than the league average. The one major area where the Nats are cheaper is parking and the difference is pretty substantial. If you've ever been to a Nats game you know this is because the stadium is so close to the subway that only fools would pay more than $5.00 to park. [Also, remember that $5 is the lowest possible price to park for a Nats game and it includes a 15-minute walk to the park. Most parking is more expensive, about $20 or so.] Team merchandising, like baseball caps and game programs are more expensive at Nationals Park than the MLB average.
So keep these numbers in mind as the Nationals are losing another 100 games this year and team management is telling you they're doing everything possible to improve the product on the field.