Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Let's Play With Some Numbers

Against a decent opponent on a weekend, the Nats are drawing like 18K fans.

Let's say there was some sort of compelling reason to go to the ballpark. Something -- or perhaps someone -- who'd dramatically increase attendance. I dunno. Let's call this person Steven for short.

Let's say that when Steven starts, he's likely to increase attendance by a lot. Maybe in his first start, he gets 42K. And say his next starts, he ups that to 33K.

So we've got a mythical player who adds at least 15,000 extra tickets to the kitty.

The latest Team Marketing report says that the average non-premium Nats ticket is about $30 bucks. The average premium ticket is about $200. Considering how few of either are being sold would an overall average of, say, $40 seem reasonable as a WAG?

So each person who comes to the park is probably going to eat, drink and be merry. What's a good WAG per person. I'm cheap as hell, and I still spend $10-15 in food/drink. What's the typical beer-swilling fratboy spend? $50? Split the difference... is $20 per person in extra sales a reasonable figure?

So we're at about $60 per person per extra ticket sold.

Multiply that out and it's $900,000 for every home start this mythical Steven person starts.

That's quite a bit of money the team would hypothetically be leaving on the table were this mythical fan-drawing player -- this "Steven" -- to exist.


  • I generally agree with you here, but let's say the buzz about this hypothetical "Steven" person increases as he goes through the minors, putting up ridiculous numbers. Would the attendance increase based on the delay?

    Even if that's not true, whenever this guy comes up, he's going to sell the park out and the next game will still be 33K. The team is now losing those starts by not sending out "Steven". What they're losing is the attendance from his later starts. Will the 33K keep up? I'm not sure anyone knows that, and of course a lot depends on how well "Steven" does in the majors.

    By Anonymous cass, at 5/12/2010 10:11 PM  

  • True, but considering that the Nats would get exactly one home start of him in May, that $900K compares in comparison to what they will save on future arbitration and/or free agency bills. So, not gonna happen until the supposed June deadline for keeping his service time down.

    By Blogger Carl, at 5/12/2010 10:11 PM  

  • Look, FJB is a nice little blog, but I really think you're overstating its impact.

    Seriously though, at this point we're talking about 2 extra home starts at most. Is that $1.8M more than the additional salary the Nats would have to pay Strasburg as a Super Two?

    By Blogger Nate, at 5/12/2010 10:14 PM  

  • He'll make some major league starts this year, so the real question is whether the few additional starts would generate enough revenue to offset the Super 2 arbitrageddon everyone is so afraid of. Unfortunately, an extra $4-5 million in the till probably still doesn't justify the ultimate costs on the back end.

    By Blogger Kevin Reiss, at 5/12/2010 10:15 PM  

  • I wasn't really trying to draw any conclusions here. Just trying to sketch it out. There's a reason I didn't multiply it out by X number of starts.

    That being said, he's clearly been ready for a while. So while there may be 2 starts between now and then, he's forgone what? maybe 3-4 other home starts.

    Say that's 5 home starts at $900K per, and that extra $10-15 million 6 years from now doesn't seem so bad.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 5/12/2010 10:15 PM  

  • His Most Holy Rev. Peter Gammons stated on MLB TV last night (or the night before) that Super 2 status would not be relevant to some mythical pitcher who might be named "Steven".

    I immediately thought of Sheinin's article on this very topic, but because the situation is fluid I can't say with any certainty what the final numbers might be.

    Besides, why would you want to play with some numbers when you could play with some MLB players?

    OK, that didn't come out the way I intended. I fear I've said too much.

    By Blogger Bote Man, at 5/12/2010 10:38 PM  

  • If there were a mythical team that had 7 former World Series participants on it and so was barreling headlong towards the playoffs, would there be in value in skipping a minor league start for this mythical Steven to have him available for as much of September as possible?

    By Blogger Unknown, at 5/12/2010 11:14 PM  

  • Strasburg is up against a hard innings limit this season. No matter when they bring him up they are going to be faced with the prospect of shutting him down sometime in September. The later they can move that shutdown date, the better - especially if they're still in the hunt then. Thus it's to their advantage to limit his early season innings as much as possible, and that can only be done while he's in the minors. If he pitches six innings of no-hit ball in DC, no way can they pull him out like they did last night. And even though Riggleman and Rizzo may pay lip service to the idea of not over-using him once they have him, when there are games on the line that will all go by the wayside - just as it has with Clippard and Capps. Combine that with the financial reasons for keeping him down until June, and there's really no sane argument for bringing him up before then.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/13/2010 8:44 AM  

  • The interesting thing to me is what is the ACTUAL net impact on ticket sales. For example, if the Nats would generally get 18,000 at every home game, but Strasburg comes up and suddenly they're drawing 13,000 for four non-Strasburg home games, and 38,000 at every Strasburg game, is there a real impact?

    In other words, will Strasburg just focus the walk-up fans to buy tickets for the same game rather than spreading out across a series, or will he actually galvanize a whole new subset of fans to come to games they wouldn't otherwise come to?

    By Blogger Scott, at 5/13/2010 9:39 AM  

  • I'll I'm hoping for is that when he finally starts at home, Kasten and the Lerners will save a few tickets for us local fans!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/13/2010 10:15 AM  

  • Who is to say that by delaying arbitration a year won't cost them millions in "baseball salary inflation?"

    Or that he'll actually pan out.

    Given that I have tickets to the June 8 game, go ahead and keep him in the minors until then Rizzo.

    By Blogger WFY, at 5/13/2010 10:37 AM  

  • Everyone seems to assume that delaying his promotion will affect his Super 2 status. But if he has a 150 innings limit, he's going to have to be shut down before the end of the season anyway. Doesn't that mean that his MLB service time will be reduced at the end of the season, and there's no way he'll be a Super 2, even if they bring him up tomorrow? So why not have as many of his 150 innings be in a Nats uniform rather than a Chiefs uniform?

    Games won now are just as important as games won in September. If they really want to keep Strasburg around as a super closer at the end of the season because we're still in the hunt, they can make the decision then whether to risk his Super 2 status. It's crazy to delay his arrival now because we might need him in September.

    By Blogger Section 222, at 5/13/2010 2:08 PM  

  • They would actually have to option him to the minors in late August to stop his service clock, which is something that would look TERRIBLE and would never be done. It's one thing to claim he needs seasoning from the stretch, it's another to take a guy who gives you half a season of excellent major league pitching and say, thanks a lot, now we're sending you to the minors to ride the bench just to screw you out of a few million dollars.

    The only time I can remember that happening was how the Brewers demoted JJ Hardy last year and they looked awful to everyone that understand the situation.

    By Blogger Scott, at 5/13/2010 2:26 PM  

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