Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Analysts question Ilitch finances, Tigers spending


Tigers' ticket sales fall, Ilitch still spending
Are team finances now at full count?

By Bill Shea: (313) 446-1626,

The division-leading Detroit Tigers have a large-market payroll with midsize market attendance that's off 22 percent from last year, something the team said it was prepared for but has baseball insiders speculating about the team's long-term financial health.

And to the delight of fans, if not economists, the team's owner is willing to spend even more to return to the World Series — even if it's a money-losing endeavor.

Attendance through last week's All-Star break was averaging 30,875 per game through 40 games at 41,255-seat Comerica Park compared to last season's 39,761 through the same number of home games.

At an average ticket price of $25.15, that roughly translates into $8.9 million less in ticket revenue so far this season.

The fan drop-off is attributed to both the team's last-place finish in 2008 and the subsequent national economic plunge that's been especially harsh in metro Detroit — vaporizing fans' disposable income and making them hesitant to buy tickets for a team three years removed from the Fall Classic.

Season ticket sales dropped to 15,000 this season from 27,000 a year ago.

“The attendance decline is out of step with the rest of the league. Attendance is down about 5 percent leaguewide, so the Tigers' 20 percent decline is not good,” said J.C. Bradbury, an economist and associate professor at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta. He's the author of The Baseball Economist and operates the baseball site ...

Economic news Web site, which tracks pro sports finances, reported that the Tigers had minus $26.3 million in operating income last season on revenue of $186 million. Gate receipts were $75 million.

“With his payroll and attendance and loss of corporate sponsorships, I think he's losing money,” said Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College in Massachusetts and author of several books on the business of baseball...

(Original Post)

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Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? 10.09.06 ● Marian Ilitch #1 on "25 Most Powerful People" to Watch 2006” global gaming business o1.oo.o5 ● My Kingdom for a Casino Forbes 05.08.06 ● Big Lagoon’s casino dream awakens north coast journal 07.28.05 ● Shinnecocks launch legal claim to Hamptons land 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles 10.23.02 ● Vanderbilt gets short straw in negotiations for a casino Lansing Journal 10.06.02 ● Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute san diego union tribune 04.09.00 ●Malik owns 2000 Michigan Quarter Horse of the Year 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E 04.25.99 Investors have troubled histories las vegas review journal 04.27.99 ● Investor served probation for domestic assault on 12 year old boy 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... 03.17.97

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