Thursday, January 05, 2006

Inside the Ownership of Professional Sports Teams

I finally got ahold of this book, thanks to Kali from Real Salt Lake blog. And it's not the holy grail I was hoping for, unfortunately. It's the 2001 edition, which only has the numbers for the previous year (2000). Here's the season ticket numbers they list:

FSE: full season equivalent (which includes all of the different multi-game plans, and is how MLS officially counts the season ticket numbers)

FSO: full season only

Chicago 3,150 FSE
Colorado 1,524 FSO
Columbus 9,100 FSE
DC United 5,200 FSO
Kansas City 2,500 FSO
Metrostars 6,410 FSO
Miami 1,100 FSO
New England 5,800 FSO
San Jose 3,500 FSE
Tampa Bay 4,000 FSO

DAL and LA figures not given.

I don't believe these numbers for a minute. The whole book seems pretty amateur, especially when you consider how expensive it is. I don't know if it's the usual lack of respect when it comes to soccer, but it wouldn't suprise me (I didn't read the other sections).

Now the actual numbers. I know for a fact that KC had 2,067 season tickets that year, from a KC Star article. So that's stupid. Some seem like they could be ok, but others are laughable. There's no way that the Mutiny had 4,000 full season tickets when they only averaged 9,452 for the whole season.

The numbers for those ten teams add up to 42,284, which like I mentioned, doesn't include all the FSE totals and two teams. The total number of season tickets in 1999 was 43,782, and there was a decrease in 2000. Just check out this article from 2001 for proof.

"League officials have trumpeted an increase of 16 percent over last season in season-ticket sales (41,206 as of March 16). Garber says by the start of the season he expects the league to break its all-time record of 43,782 set in 1999."

That means that in 2000, the total was around 35,500. I don't know if he means that it's up 16% exactly one year ago (3/16/2000) or over the entire season total. They might've ended up a little higher. But it doesn't really matter. The decrease makes perfect sense, considering that the league average went down by 500 game that year. 12 teams times 500 = 6,000 fewer season tickets, basically.

So anyway, all this information is just for you to see how wrong this book is. The lease information that they have seems crazy too. Kali said it best: "pretty fucking lame."

There were a couple interesting things that I didn't know about:

1) The Hunts only own 55% of the Columbus Crew; Ron Pizzuti (also a minority investor in the NHL's Blue Jackets) and local investors own the rest.

2) "The Earthquakes' logo, a three-sided crest overlaid on a silver and blue background with a soccer ball beneath a rising sun, is supposed to represent the area's major cities of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland."

Honestly, I don't even know if I realized that there was a sun on the logo. I always thought it was supposed to be a shockwave from an Earthquake or something. And are they really saying that the three sides of the crest are supposed to represent the there cities? That's really stretching it. Although, let's also remember that the Galaxy logo has a freaking golf ball in it!

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