Sunday, May 10, 2009

Quick Note: Attendance Matters

A few months ago (it's prior to the Joe Crede signing) we noticed that the Twins payroll had been shrinking since 2007, and we wondered just how much the recession might hurt the Twins. Then, in March, we did a little breakdown of some of the Twins revenues and found out that of the $140-millionish revenue the Twins bring in, only around $50 million was directly related to their gate.

Yes, I know I need to do a part two of this revenue series. There's a reason I haven't. It's because I'm a slacker. I think we've established that fully over the last few years. Soon, I promise.

Since we're about 25% of the way through the home season, I thought it might make sense to check in on attendance. Especially because I had the impression early that attendance was down.

And it is, but not much. Through 20 games this year, the 496,956 while is was 515,630 through 20 games last year. So it's down just 3.7%. And even that number is debatable, because last year the Twins had already hosted Boston (which is always a strong draw) and had hosted three more weekend games. That could more than make up the difference.

On the other hand, at the same point last year, expectations were still fairly low. Alsom my gut feel is that attendance really picked up as it became apparent that the Twins were going to be more competetive than we thought. How much of that is due to exceeding expactations, and how much is due to just the onslaught of summer is unclear. I just don't have time to crunch the numbers, to be honest.

But it appears that the recession shouldn't hurt the Twins gate revenues much. 3.7% of $50 million is $1.85 million. And if we assume that the Twins payroll reflects about 50% of their overall revenues, that's less than $1 million difference. Any decrease in payroll over the last couple years can't be attributed to the recession.


Jon Marthaler said...

I read somewhere (possibly Sid's Sunday column?) that the team's already sold 1.5mm tickets for this year. Toss in summer walk-ups and it seems likely they'll get to 2 million again this year, doesn't it?

David Wintheiser said...

Saying that the drop in payroll isn't related to the recession isn't precisely the same thing as saying that the drop isn't related to concerns about the recession.

If the Twins decided to hold up on increasing their payroll because they thought the recession might hurt them (in advance of any actual numbers showing it is), they wouldn't be the first corporation to do so.