Tuesday, July 13, 2010

THE PRICE OF PRINCE

Let's do some Scott Boras math.

In this article yesterday by Tom Haudricourt, Scott Boras proclaimed that in negotiating a contract for Prince Fielder, he will be looking for one similar to that of Mark Teixeira.  Teixeira's contract with the Yankees is $180 million for 8 years; an average of $22.5 million per year. Boras justifies this by claiming that having a player like Fielder can mean the difference between drawing 3 million in attendance and drawing 2.4 million.

Now, whether you buy in to Boras' claim is one thing.  Obviously having Fielder would have some impact on attendance, but a difference of 600,000?  Attendance will go up 25% just by having Prince Fielder on the team?  But for now, let's say he's right and work with that number.

According to this chart the Brewers average ticket price in 2010 is $22.10.  If you multiply that number by the 600,000 increase in attendance Boras claims the Brewers will have, you can project an additional revenue of $13.3 million per year by having Fielder.  That's quite a bit short of the $22.5 million that Teixeira makes.  More than $10 million short.  So I guess you can scratch the Brewers off of the list of teams for whom it makes financial sense to sign Prince Fielder.

So who can?  If it's true that Prince Fielder will generate 600,000 additional fans through the turnstiles for whichever team signs him, you would need an average ticket price of $37.50 to be able to justify paying him the $22.5 million per year that Boras will be asking for him.  There are six teams with average ticket prices that high:

Chicago Cubs - $52.56
Boston Red Sox - $52.32
New York Yankees - $51.83
Chicago White Sox - $38.65
Philadelphia Phillies - $32.99
New York Mets - $32.32

The Cubs and Red Sox you can immediately scratch off the list of potential suitors.  Their stadiums aren't big enough to fit the 7,400 additional fans (600,000 divided by 81) per game that Fielder would bring.  They are already near capacity at every game.

The Yankees have already spent quite a bit at first base.  There's DH I suppose so you can't rule that out.  The Phillies already have a Prince Fielder named Ryan Howard.  That would seem to leave the White Sox and the Mets.

And I'm sure this is exactly what Scott Boras is thinking.  I'm sure he's already done this math. The 600,000 attendance figure that he threw out the other day was a carefully calculated number.  He meant it for more than Tom Haudricourt to hear.  Prince Fielder will be headed to New York or Chicago and Boras will convince him that he can't make nearly as much money anywhere else.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Your calculation is missing a piece. While the average Miller Park ticket is $22.10, the average fan in attendance spends more than that on food, merch, and beer. And also beer. And beer.

So, using your other numbers, giving Fielder the Teixeira deal would make sense (assuming Boras' claim is true) as long as each of those extra 600,000 fans spends an average of $15 or so while they're at the game. Which may or may not be the case - you'd have to ask the Brewers brass.

I think Boras' point (I can't believe I'm defending Scott Boras) is not that Prince literally brings in 600k fans, but that being a contender year after year brings in those fans, which I agree with in principle. What I'm not sure of is his implication that Prince is the difference between contending and not contending.

I think that as the Brewers put more distance between themselves and their last winning season, the attendance numbers drop off with or without Prince Fielder. Prince hits home runs, sure, but them we got plenty of and still languish well out of contention. Prince can't throw a decent slider, and that's what the Brewers need to spend their $22.5m on, if they can.

 
Blogged Blog Directory