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Ramirez's effect may not add up

September 28, 2008|Bill Shaikin and Ross Newhan

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt can justify bringing back Manny Ramirez for his big bat, but baseball sense does not necessarily equate to dollars and cents. In the winter, when McCourt and agent Scott Boras negotiate over how much the Dodgers should pay Ramirez in a possible new contract, the numbers under discussion will range far beyond home runs and runs batted in.

The Dodgers made money on Ramirez this season, millions upon millions. That, of course, is because the Boston Red Sox paid the $7-million salary owed to Ramirez for his two months in Los Angeles.

If the Dodgers had to pay that salary this season, they would have recouped the cost, but not by much, even as Ramirez moved merchandise like no Dodgers player since Eric Gagne and moved tickets like no Dodgers player since Fernando Valenzuela.

In accounting for revenue increases in ticket sales, parking, food, drink and merchandise, Ramirez generated an estimated $7.6 million.

The Dodgers' average attendance jumped by 4,288 in the Manny Era. At an average ticket price of $29.66, according to Team Marketing Report, that's an additional $3.2 million in revenue. With fans spending roughly $17 a person on food, drink and parking, that's another $1.8 million.

The Dodgers also sold 14,000 Ramirez T-shirts at $29 each, 6,000 dreadlocks at $25 each and 500 authentic jerseys at $280 each. That's another $700,000 in revenue, strictly from stadium sales.

For argument's sake, let's say the Dodgers' no-show rate in the Manny Era dropped from 20% to 10%. Those fans already had paid for their tickets, but by actually using them, the Dodgers could add another $1.9 million in food, drink and parking revenues.

The Dodgers could argue those figures should be lower, because they assume the attendance increase is entirely attributable to Ramirez.

But any adjustments would be incremental, and they would pale against the potential of millions more in revenue from playoff games at Dodger Stadium, ticket renewals, advertising and corporate sponsorship. By the estimate of two sources within the organization, neither of which was authorized to discuss club finances publicly, the Dodgers could reap as much as $15 million from Ramirez this season.

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Shaikin is a Times staff writer; Newhan is a special correspondent.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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