Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Will Major League Baseball strike out?

March 27, 2009

jeter1Pity Major League Baseball.

The U.S. sports league will be the first to face the recession from the beginning of its season, and team officials are bracing for a decline in attendance of as much as 10 percent.

Two-thirds of the 30 MLB teams have frozen or cut their ticket prices and many have made similar moves on their concessions and souvenirs, team officials said. Combine that with the cutbacks in spending on suites and blocks of tickets by companies and the sport’s revenue also could slip.

Baseball officials are especially worried about teams in California and the Midwest.

The league already has frozen its budget and hiring, echoing moves made by most sports. The NFL, NBA and several NASCAR race teams have cut jobs, Arena Football canceled its season and a couple of teams in smaller sports have folded.

Far from striking out, however, baseball is in good shape. It saw record revenue last year, just launched a new TV network and has long-term broadcast agreements in place to weather the economic storm.

If the recession does not land beyond this season, baseball and other sports should recover nicely as consumers still love distractions in tough times, analysts and sports industry executives have said.

(Photo: Reuters)

Comments

As you mentioned, the “Game” is far from striking out.

Maybe down to two strike hitting.

Fun and exciting new ventures like playing the “Game” daily at http://www.mlpogame.wordpress.com against the greatest minds behind the “Game”, can capitalize on centralized databases that will ultimately capture global revenues daily with or without a real baseball game being played.

Enjoy.

 

Is it such a bad thing if major sports see a halt to the wages inflation of recent years?

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

When will the athletes offer to take pay cuts, especially those earning $10+MM per year ? People should be as outraged at these athletes as they are at the bankers. I know the ahtletes didn’t cause the problems, but they’re not helping by the continual escalation of salaries. I suppose the agents are equally to blame.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive
 

That’s an interestnig point, Dan. In Formula 1 there have been a few drivers who have taken pay cuts recently. I udnerstand Jensen Button, who won the first race of the season on Sunday, was one of them and reports in Spain say former world champions Fernando Alonso took a 6 million suros pay cut recently.
I haven’t seen many examples in football, etc though.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

I think people are missing the point about who is the guilty party in the salaries paid to athletes. The team owners have the ability to say “no” and have chosen to say “yes” although there seems to be some progress in baseball this year.

If your employer offered to double or triple your salary, would you say no?

Posted by Allan | Report as abusive
 

I’m not sure I understand the negative start to this blog. Baseball is going great and if ticket prices are frozen or go down, so much the better.

Posted by jamesy | Report as abusive
 

I do agree that ticket prices still frozen but i am sure it will get down very soon; Sale of tickets is good for fans and match lovers.

 

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