The New York Mets don’t look very profitable any more. The franchise is reported to have lost $50 million in 2010, and the prospects aren’t looking much better for the 2011 season. Advanced ticket sales apparently aren’t looking very good, and it’s hard to blame a fan base that has had to put up with a mismanaged team for the last few years.
According to the New York Times, during the 2009 season the Mets brought in more than $350 million of revenue, but still reported a loss of $10 million. In 2010 the team continued to struggle, leading to even fewer fans showing up (600,000 less than 2009) and causing a revenue dip of more than $60 million. That put the net losses at roughly $50 million for 2010.
These numbers are pretty worrisome, especially for a franchise that gets to call New York home. That is one of the biggest potential markets to baseball fans, and all they have to do is put a good product on the field to yield the dividends. That can be seen in the revenue stream alone, as two years ago the Mets had to put more than $40 million into the revenue-sharing program. That is how the league balances out the small market teams with the bigger market teams; the Mets were pulling in quite a large amount of revenue.
So what is the problem in New York right now? Well, in the 2010 season, the Mets had the fifth highest payroll in the game, yet they still couldn’t finish the year above .500. The Opening Day payroll, not even accounting for bonuses or promotions made during the year, was over $132 million for New York. To put that in perspective, San Francisco had a payroll of just under $98 million and won the World Series, and 12 other franchises spent less than $73 million on their payrolls during the year.
Things are not looking positive for the Mets in the 2011 season, as they made no major additions to the team, but have cut several veterans who will still have to be paid during the year. The Mets are now in re-building mode, and it would be very surprising if they made a run in the National League East this year. If they could just get into the wild card race, though, it would go a long ways toward increasing ticket sales and bringing in revenues from the postseason.
What really needs to be asked is if the current ownership team is best serving the Mets and their fans, or if it is time for this franchise to be sold to someone with new ideas on how to make them profitable.