The Benefits of Sammy Sosa
There is an interesting article by Doug Padilla in the Monday Sun-Times talking about Sammy Sosa's effect on Orioles' ticket sales. According to Padilla:
An Orioles representative confirmed that the team sold 5,000 individual season tickets over the weekend, double any previous weekend in January. The team's previous top-selling weekend came during its annual fan fest, when it moved 2,500 season tickets.
Assuming that an average weekend would have resulted in 1,000 season ticket sales, let's attribute an additional 4,000 season tickets to Sammy. If they go for an average of $20 each, that is $80,000 extra per game and $6,480,000 over the course of an 81-game season. Assuming those season ticket holders spend another $10 in food and merchandise per game, Sammy Sosa's $9 million salary seems to be self-funding. Quite remarkable.
What is perhaps more interesting is how this might impact the Nationals. Assume, all other things being equal, that the Orioles attendance goes UP this year due to the presence of Sammy Sosa. Wouldn't that be exhibit A in an argument against Peter Angelos' demands for cash benefits from the Expos' move to DC? What if MLB held the team until the end of this year and said, during the course of negotiations, "Peter, your revenues went UP year over year with the Nationals in DC...you'll get nothing and like it." An interesting wrinkle.
All in all, I would not be surprised with total attendance of more than 6 million for the Orioles and Nationals this year. Hell, I might even go to some Orioles games this year when the White Sox are in town.