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Pirates struggling to put butts in the seats

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

In other news, man bites dog.

Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes a column bashing new Pirates President Frank Coonelly for being satisfied with progress outside of the win-column. At the end of the column, he points out that the Pirates 'progress' hasn't made it as far as the gate.

The paying customers know the truth even if Coonelly doesn't want to admit it publicly. July is a long way from April and Pirates attendance is way off from the same point last season, down more than 2,300 a game after 43 home dates. Despite the two sellouts against the Yankees, the team's average attendance of 18,528 ranks next-to-last in the big leagues. Only the Florida Marlins, playing in a lousy stadium, are drawing worse.

For Cubs fans, who are intimately familiar with the struggle just to land Cubs tickets, the situation can seem surreal. Imagine showing up on game day and having your choice of good seats or cheap seats, not just standing room only... but the impact to the franchise is even more devastating. Let's whip out our calculators.

Ticket Prices: Source – TMR FCI:
Pirates average ticket Price for 2008: $17.07 (2nd least expensive in MLB ahead of the Braves)
Cubs average ticket Price for 2008: $42.49 (2nd most expensive in MLB behind the Yankees)

Attendance: Source – ESPN:
Pirates average attendance per home game: 18,529
Cubs average attendance per home game: 40,462

Estimated ticket revenue per game:
Pirates: $316,290
Cubs: $1,719,230

That's an astounding difference of over $1.4 million per game, which adds up to $113.6 million over the course of a complete season... enough to pay the salaries of every single Cubs player making over $1 million this year, and still have enough to pay Adam LaRoche (the Pirates 4th highest paid player.) (2008 Cubs Payroll)

And there you have it, the price of losing Barry Bonds, the price of incompetent management compounded over nearly two decades, and the price of playing too many night games. (Yeah, I had to throw that last one in there.)

Posted by Byron at July 2, 2008 2:08 PM | Bookmark and Share | BallHype: hype it up!
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