The buzz around Yankee Stadium on Tuesday focused on prospects for another World Series championship.
The New York Yankees introduced their newest superstar acquisition, infielder Alex Rodriguez, who cooed about joining a star-studded lineup and said, "I still feel like someone's going to pinch me and wake me up."
But potential wins and losses aren't the only important numbers in a deal that has been the talk of baseball.
Rodriguez's arrival in New York might also be measured in millions of dollars, starting with another sort of introduction:
A-Rod, meet Madison Avenue.
Add the reigning American League most valuable player to a powerhouse club in the nation's media capital and, experts say, the result could be a flood of endorsements.
"The spigot is now on full blast," said Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Management Center at the University of Oregon. "Basically he can drink all he wants."
Rodriguez is not the only one who stands to profit.
The Yankees have another marquee name with which to market their team and help pay a bust-at-the-seams $189-million payroll. Major League Baseball has one of its brightest stars on its biggest stage.
"It's a rare combination," said Larry McCarthy, an associate professor of sports marketing at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. "All the stars are aligned."
It all came about because of a trade that sent second baseman Alfonso Soriano and a minor league player to be named to the Texas Rangers. The Rangers must pay $67 million of the $179 million remaining on Rodriguez's contract.
The perennial All-Star, who will now play a few miles from the Washington Heights neighborhood where he was born, appeared at a news conference flanked by shortstop Derek Jeter, Manager Joe Torre and Hall of Fame outfielder Reggie Jackson.
"What a reception," Rodriguez said. "I feel overwhelmed and very, very happy to be here."
Rodriguez talked about being a team player. He already has agreed to shift from his accustomed position at shortstop to third base.
The Yankees have assigned former All-Star third baseman Graig Nettles to help him adjust.
"I've come to a point in my career when winning is the most important thing," Rodriguez said. "And being a New York Yankee, it provides the opportunity, when you drive to the ballpark, every day you have a chance to win."
Experts say that success on the field will be critical to the other half of the deal -- generating revenue. "The whole team has to win if they want to make that money," McCarthy said.
And if Rodriguez wants a hint of his earning potential, he needs only to look across the infield.
His new teammate Jeter has built a portfolio that includes advertisements for Nike, Gatorade and Visa. Even with a lifetime batting average of .308, Rodriguez never enjoyed that degree of visibility with the Rangers or Seattle Mariners.
"He was so removed being out in Texas," McCarthy said. "Now he's in the center of the marketing world."
The Yankees' share of potential endorsements remains unclear. Any corporation wanting to show Rodriguez in pinstripes with the "NY" logo would have to procure the rights.
Some advertisers might not bother, preferring to show him in a generic uniform, fearing backlash against a club that some fans love to hate.
"The Yankees are such a polarizing franchise," Swangard said. "I would argue that A-Rod not in a Yankees uniform, just being an endorser, would even work in Boston."
So how does trading for Rodriguez and his massive contract make financial sense for a team that reportedly paid $50 million in revenue sharing and $12 million in luxury taxes last season?
Experts were undecided.
"It surprises me they would want [another expensive player]," said Becky Vallett, executive editor of Team Marketing Report, a Chicago-based industry publication. "I don't think they need him."
The Yankees -- with an estimated worth of $730 million, or almost twice that of the Dodgers -- have consistently strong ticket and merchandise sales, Vallett said. They do not need any help drawing from the Latino market.
Nor is the addition expected to make much of a difference for the organization's regional YES cable network.
But the team reportedly experienced a spike in ticket sales Monday and by Tuesday afternoon replicas of Rodriguez's pinstripe uniform -- No. 13 -- were selling on the Internet for $99.99.
As McCarthy said, "Talk to me in five years after they've won five more World Series. Then I'll tell you if it was a good deal."
No matter what happens on the field, baseball appears to have benefited already.
The game has gained exposure from media interest surrounding the trade. If Rodriguez can attract more endorsements, that means more free advertising.
In an era of sports as big business, that can mean almost as much as wins and losses.
"It's a story that transcends to the casual fan," Swangard said. "Baseball has got to love that he's in New York."
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