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The Mets lost $50 million last year

Mar 25, 2011, 8:47 AM EDT

Citi Field

When it was learned that the Mets took a loan from Major League Baseball, it was characterized by some as an instance of a team merely addressing a short term liquidity problem during those cold dark days between seasons.  Seems it was a bit more than that. The New York Times:

The Mets, long one of baseball’s most highly valued franchises, have lost millions of dollars in recent years, including nearly $50 million in 2010, according to two people briefed on the team’s finances … the club’s falloff in revenue was the largest year-to-year decline for any major league team in recent years … overall revenue slid by more than $60 million

Though team financial data is a closely-guarded secret, that’s thought to be the largest slide in revenue since the 1998 Florida Marlins, reeling from their World Series winning roster being torn to shreds, slid from fifth to 13th in attendance in the National League.  In the past three seasons the Mets have slid from first to fifth to eighth in attendance. I would assume that their projections of what life would be like upon moving in to Citi Field didn’t anticipate that.

But hey: Castillo and Perez are gone, and I was led to believe that once that happened, everything would be OK!

  1. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Mar 25, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    What can I say? A well run team is a well run team. The Mets’ ownership meant to lose $50 mil last year.

  2. bigxrob - Mar 25, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    It’s all just part of their master plan to prove that they are financially incompetent; therefore they couldn’t possibly understand what Madoff was doing.
    Take that Picard.

  3. joshfrancis50 - Mar 25, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    Did they actually bring in negative 50 million, or did they simply lose 50 million in revenue from the previous year? Big difference. The Yankees bringing in 50 million less in revenue means they still made a gazillion dollars.

    • okobojicat - Mar 25, 2011 at 9:22 AM

      The article says “lost nearly $50 million in 2010” so that’s not just a decrease in income, that’s the opposite of profit.

      Honestly, if a team from NY lost $50m in one year, they might just be so incompetent to get out of this suit. They shouldn’t. But wow.

  4. Jonny 5 - Mar 25, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    Tax payers covering 200 million of that stadium, and they’re still losing money. hmm?

  5. Detroit Michael - Mar 25, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    I don’t believe it.

    Major league teams have a long history of claiming they are poorer than they are. They have financial incentives to claim that they are poorer than they are.

    Until we see a MLB team sell for less than what it was bought for or until we see a team publicly release GAAP financial with no related party transactions, then there isn’t evidence that they are doing poorly. It’s going to more evidence than two anonymous people briefed on the team’s finances before I swallow that story.

    • ukraineshaqfan - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:02 AM

      Exactly. The 50 million dollar loss could well be true, but it’s unlikely to be the whole truth. The big franchises that own their own cable networks can lose money on one side of their business and claim poverty while making huge profits on the other side, though I seem to recall hearing that the Mets may have sold/mortgaged SNY to stay liquid? Not sure of that.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:18 AM

      Except the difference here is that the Mets aren’t trying to claim poverty in order to get more handouts, they’re trying to claim financial health in order to attract a minority owner. Without access to their books, you’re right that it’s impossible to verify these numbers, but this isn’t the Mets themselves trying to float misinformation.

      • cur68 - Mar 25, 2011 at 11:19 AM

        That’s probably the telling point there Kevin. The Mets need to appear solvent and earning a decent return right now. Consumer confidence is down for the Mets and this news drives it down further. It does not put bums in seats and hurts profitability at the ballpark, where the Mets as a team earn a healthy portion of their dough. Factor in all the lost revenue for merchandise non-sales (who wants to be seen in a Mets jersey right now?) and potential advertisers running from the team; news like this devalues the team and drives down the asking price that the Wilpons can command for that minority share.

        If the Wilpons were a ballplayer, we’d be demanding the front office trade or cut them. They wouldn’t make it out of spring training with their ERA (earned revenue average). Hell, they wouldn’t make it out of single A ball.

  6. BC - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:08 AM


    • yankeesfanlen - Mar 25, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      BC, you’re partially saying that in jest, but the reality is the Mets DO need a strong buyer, and the fans need to see some fire from the top to bring them back.
      Quite the window dressing by Collins this week, but the Myrtle Beach Pelicans would have released Ollie and Castillo long before now.

    • cur68 - Mar 25, 2011 at 11:24 AM

      DonaldTrump (log 10)

  7. guileless22 - Mar 25, 2011 at 10:37 AM

    It would be one thing if they did this and were positioned to win 100 games. But they’re starting a Rule 5 guy as an everyday player. The mind boggles.

    • gammagammahey - Mar 25, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      I’m happier with a GM willing to give a young Rule 5 guy a shot in a non-contending year than a GM who gives Luis Castillo a $25m contract.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM

        I think his point wasn’t to criticize the fact that a Rule 5 guy is starting for them, but that a team in the Mets’ situation is so clearly not competing and STILL losing money hand over fist is remarkable.

  8. mamow74 - Mar 25, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    So your whole thing about easing up on the schadenfreude regarding the Mets was… for the purposes of that single article? Just a tiny bit snarky. Nice.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 25, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      So you think this isn’t newsworthy?

  9. mamow74 - Mar 25, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    No I definitely think that it was newsworthy, it’s just that last line that shows that you might be enjoying the Mets’ travails a bit much. I can’t imagine how ditching Castillo and Perez aren’t good steps for the club to be taking (unlike their respective signings), as I’m sure you’d agree, but lately it seems like the Mets are even being made fun of for that which just amazes me. I’m sorry man, I don’t mean to be such a hater, I’m an attorney and I’ve been reading your stuff regularly since Shysterball and have always been a huge fan. It’s just that every writer that I think is cool has been just ripping on the Mets so much this offseason (in an occasionally mean-spirited way), it gets to be a little much sometimes. I understand that a lot of it the Mets have brought on themselves, but it still doesn’t make it easy to constantly read. Again, sorry, more for some of the comments i’ve made in the past.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 25, 2011 at 2:08 PM

      Fair enough. No mean spiritedness intended. And really, when I riff on Castillo and Perez, it’s more (in my mind anyway) of a slam on people who overstated the effect of those two signings, acting as though they were akin to war crimes or something and that they represented everything that was wrong with the team. That’s a different kind of haterhade from those guys, but haterade all the same.

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