— Days Without Shea —


It's been a long tough week at work, after a long tough winter. It might be snowing in New York but it's Opening Day in FLA.

So click on Mr. Met and sing along as we salute 2011 Mets baseball, whatever it may take us:

mr_met.jpg


[April 1, 2011 9:37 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Ron Hunt said

Jeez, I'm such a dope. I love this version! I must have played it five times, at full volume, in my office.

LET'S GO METS!!!!!


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by Kingman on March 27 at 1:11PM
As I mentioned in yesterday's Art Shamsky post, we went to BeatleFest for the first time. Although I am a Stones guy, the Beatles are still a favorite. I had never really gone to a band convention like the fest but I have to say, I loved the experience.

There was plenty of cool memorabilia to check out and some good interviews with Gary Dreamweaver Wright and former members of Badfinger. But the best part was the fans. There were informal jams breaking out all over the place and two stations where quasi-formal rocking occurred. This jam area in the lobby was a non-stop love-in the entire five hours we were there; every time we walked by, it seemed there was a new instrumentalist. Here is the people's rendition of "The End," with keyboard and trumpet, no less. 





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by Kingman on March 26 at 9:41PM
Today was Something. I went to Beatlefest for the first time ever and took two of my sons for the magical mystery tour. The ten-year-old has become a major Beatle fan this year so I thought he'd dig the scene.

We all had a great time. Lots of great music and wonderful people all chilling out to the Beatles. Of course, there was plenty of Shea Stadium memorabilia, and an appearance by Sid Bernstein, the legendary concert promoter who booked the Beatles into Carnegie Hall in 1964 and Shea Stadium in 1965. Sid is a spry 91 years old but still rocking.

Besides the rock and roll music, as an added bonus, Art Shamsky was also there, selling copies of his book "The Magnificent Seasons: How the Jets, Mets, and Knicks Made Sports History and Uplifted a City and the Country." He was very cool as soon as he saw my kids and asked them if they wanted to see a real World Series ring. I had never been that close to a 1969 world series ring before...not a ton of jewels on it. Very tasteful. He chatted a bit about the book. I asked him what he thought of the 2011 Mets' chances. Art shook his head and said it was going to be a long year, especially if they did not get off to a strong start.

After I bought a book, he posed for a photograph (see below). Great guy, Art Shamsky, a true met legend and a gentleman. We will definitely Get Back to Beatlefest next year.

http://www.loge13.com/img/ArtShamsky_032611.jpg



[March 27, 2011 8:25 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Paul said

I "STILL" have my "Art Shamsky Bat" which I got on BAT DAY at Shea. Everyone on the block wanted to use it in the daily sponge ball game.

I still use it now and again. You see, it holds the trunk up on my 1966 Ford Fairlane.

I think the Mets only had 1 Bat Day. Does any one know for sure????

[March 27, 2011 4:21 PM]  |  link  |  reply
kingman said

I think they had a few days when they gave away mini-bats but it sounds like your Shamsky is a full-size bat. Sounds awesome. I know there was only one flip-flop night.


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Filed under: Baseball | CitiField | Mets
by Kingman on March 25 at 10:04AM
http://www.loge13.com/assets_c/2008/07/Loge13seats-thumb-525x394.jpg
The Wilpon's financial woes are a daily news downer.

Here is yet another article from the NY Times on the Mets money problems.

Some takeaways:
* The Mets lost $50M last year and expect to lose the same this year.

* This isn't just the Wilpon's problem. MLB and all the owners are getting burned, as this impacts revenue sharing.

* The Mets claim ticket sales are up this year, compared to last year. Obviously, the Mets still believe in misleading media and fans and spinning whatever yarns they can to maintain the illusion things are swell.

* How do you run a money-losing club in New York City of all places? Let me break out my old saw here and say it again: you do it by tearing down Shea Stadium. That act alone didn't cause the damage but the hubris behind the decision to sacrifice Shea and shake down fans in Citi Field is absolutely impacting the bottom line. Even with 14,000 fewer seats, the Mets
can't get enough people in the place. It's not too late to start treating fans with some respect. Start by being honest.

here be the NYT piece:

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 team's losses -- projected to hit another $50 million or more this season based on factors including advance ticket sales -- come with a range of implications for its owners, who are trying to sell a portion of the club, and for major league teams that rely on the Mets to share revenue with them.

Two years ago, the Mets contributed more than $40 million to baseball's revenue-sharing pool -- a system meant to create a more level playing field for small- and large-market teams. But in 2010, the Mets put in around 40 percent less.

The losses -- the club's falloff in revenue was the largest year-to-year decline for any major league team in recent years -- are certainly jarring for a franchise operating in the nation's most lucrative market. In 2009, the Mets, boasting one of the sport's most expensive payrolls, opened the season in a new park, Citi Field, and the club took in revenue of more than $350 million. Still, it lost close to $10 million, according to the two people briefed on the matter.

The team then struggled again in the field in 2010, ending the honeymoon for the new ballpark, and attendance figures fell precipitously, with almost 600,000 fewer fans showing up.

As a result, according to a person briefed on the finances, overall revenue slid by more than $60 million, and net losses, after interest, totaled roughly $50 million.

The falloff in revenue in 2010 for the Mets was one of the most striking for any club since the losses suffered by the Florida Marlins in 1998, when their roster was decimated by cost-cutting ownership a year after the team won the World Series.

The individual finances of baseball teams are some of the most closely held data in professional sports, and the public is most often left to accept the word of the league's owners about any team's profitability or losses. So the revelations about the particulars of the Mets' finances are hardly commonplace. The people briefed on the club's finances would not be identified because the information is considered confidential.

For its part, Forbes magazine produces its own annual valuations for major league teams, and this week dropped its estimate of the Mets' value by 13 percent, to $747 million.

The coming months, on the field and off, appear to be loaded with numerous challenges for the team.

The owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, have been sued for $1 billion by the trustee representing victims of Bernard L. Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

And sales of what are known as full-season equivalents -- a mix of small and large season-ticket packages -- are projected to top out at 10,000 this year, less than half the total sold just two years ago. Without any major player signings after last season's 79-83 record, there might not be much for fans to root for.

The Mets would not comment on their financial situation, other than to say that ticket sales for the 2011 season are up over the same time last year.

The revelations about the team's losses come as Wilpon and Katz look to raise cash to keep the team running by selling at least 25 percent of the club. Five to eight prospective bidders are taking their first looks at the club's recent financial history -- and examining documents that help with projections.

Analysts and sports investment bankers have doubted that the team can find anyone willing to buy a minority stake. Instead, they have said, more than 50 percent of the club might have to be sold to give a buyer control.

The analysts and bankers said that the only way a minority portion would be attractive was if it came with a piece of the Mets' two-thirds interest in SNY, their cash-producing cable network.

But bidders are being told SNY -- a reliable source of profits for the Mets' owners -- is not for sale, and they are not being shown the network's financial statements, said a person briefed on the sale. They are seeing documents showing that SNY is paying the vast majority of more than $60 million in media revenue to the team.

The team's financial struggles have already required the intervention of Commissioner Bud Selig, who last fall approved a $25 million loan to sustain the club's operations. The money was apparently needed because 2010 revenue fell tens of millions of dollars below projections, said one of the people with knowledge of the finances.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Mets, as they have solicited partners to buy a share of the team, have tried to paint a brighter future, said one of the people briefed on the finances. By 2015, the team is forecasting significant profits and revenue well above $400 million.

The 2009 and 2010 seasons were the first since Madoff's fraud was uncovered. The owners insisted at the time of Madoff's arrest that the club's financial health was not imperiled by their Madoff losses.

But the lawsuit filed by the trustee for Madoff's victims has asserted that the team's owners for years had been using their reliable profits from their Madoff investments to sustain and promote a variety of business, including the Mets.

Even as the sale of part of the team goes forward, the Mets have engaged in angry legal exchanges with the Madoff trustee over allegations that Wilpon and Katz turned a blind eye to warnings of Madoff's fraud. In a court filing Sunday, the owners said the trustee, Irving H. Picard, had withheld or distorted critical evidence in the case.

 


[March 25, 2011 12:33 PM]  |  link  |  reply
Doug said

Kingman,

Professional sports are a money pit.

The Mets are no exception, but are probably one of the first big market teams to become a loser.

Do the math. If the Mets are to fund a $150 million payroll from gate receipts alone, they will need to charge an AVERAGE ticket price close to $44, and sell all 42,000 seats for EVERY game. Factor NYS/NYC sales tax, and the face value of the ticket approaches $48. We know the Mets do not sell every seat to every game, so they must get their money elsewhere - TV, in-stadium marketing, beer, soda, dogs, parking, etc. (If Shea were still standing, those average prices would be $34 and $37).

There are other expenses the Mets have, like their minor league system, management, overhead for players (charters, per diem, etc.), doctors, training, staff, scouts, -- it goes on.

There is only so much blood that can be squeezed from a turnip. Originally the owners had gate receipts. Then they needed more money - so they got it from big media (TV, Cable, radio). Player salaries escalate further, and now they need additional revenue streams to meet expenses - so they turn to the ballpark. There isn't much left. The Garden is going under renovation (so the Dolan's can generate more revenue). The Giants and Jets built a new football stadium. The Devils moved to the Rock. They all did so in order to extract more money from the paying customer.

It's probably safe to say that the Mets are generating more revenue in Citi Field than they could in Shea simply because of control. The Mets keep more of the monies spent at Citi (parking, food, beer, soda, etc), where much of the monies spent at Shea went to the City.

The Mets didn't have to pay off bonds for Shea's construction, but couldn't control all the revenue generated, either. With great risk comes great reward, along with a chance for great failure. The Mets chose to build a park where they can generate much greater revenue at the risk of having the paying of bonds for the park's construction eating into revenue. With a high payroll and a lousy team, Citi-revenues aren't there. In Shea days, no worries, because there were no bonds to pay. Not so now.

To ensure a successful team on and off the field, the club needs to continuously field teams with talented young players, and not over-spend for free agents on the decline - hence them bringing in Sandy and company.

The Mets are forced to charge the prices they do simply to make payroll and to operate in the modern world of professional sports.

Remember, Pujols wants $30 million a year. Busch seats 44k. That contract will add $8.50 to the cost of each seat assuming the Cards sell out the joint for the season... Makes you wonder...

Cheers!
-Doug

[March 25, 2011 3:39 PM]  |  link  |  reply
kingman said

Doug, thanks for the thoughtful and smart comments. You make some excellent points and I agree with much of what you say. I do think that teams have to spend big to win big, esp. in NY. But stadium revenues alone aren't going to win the day. Cable TV, merchandising and other revenue streams are what will let the Mets spend $150M on payroll, not just jacking up prices at the gate or the food stands.

That said, new stadiums do help drive new revenues but I don't completely agree that the costs to fans go up by necessity. They go up because that's what the market will allow. Clearly, fans will pay $12 for a beer or $20 to park, so teams will keep reaching for that ceiling. As we are seeing up in the Bronx, fans aren't paying $35 to park so the Yankees garage owner is about to miss a debt payment (see previous post). I think some of the same stuff is going on in Citi. That's all part of capitalism but at some point, respect for the customer needs to be part of the equation. Maybe efforts like Mr. Met's Landing are a way to re-build some of that respect and trust. This may be a rebuilding year in more ways than one!


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by Kingman on March 24 at 9:29AM
The Mets announced a new ticket package today for Citi Field: Mr. Met's Landing.

It will be here (dig my epic Fireworks skills):

http://www.loge13.com/img/MrMetLanding.png
According to the Mets:

Sections 338 and 339 in Citi Field's Left Field Landing are priced at $10 for kids 12 and under and $20 for adults ($20 and $30 respectively for four Marquee game dates).

Mr. Met will visit both sections during every home Mets game.

The site makes no mention on whether your Met Landing tickets gain you entrance into the restaurants on Level Three. Logically they should but we learned up on the Promenade that logic is not a strong suit for Citi Field.

What do you think?




[March 24, 2011 4:10 PM]  |  link  |  reply
greek bumble bee said

typical mets malarkey. Lets put the kiddies in the furthest possible location from home plate so they can really enjoy the game and want to come back. UNREAL !! No thanks, I will wait till seats like our old loge 13 location are on sale on stub hub in August for $2 a pop !!!

[March 25, 2011 7:22 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Paul said

Jumped on this Kingman, and got lucky....You see there is a bunch of us (14 this year) that worked for a now-defunked airline. Every year since 1989 we have been going to 1 Met Game each summer. We had plans to sit in the Caesars Club Section till this came along.

It was a no brain-er, and saved $46 a seat. It said there is a limit of 2 Adults and 4 Kids a game, but 2 days later they came....ALL 14. After all the crap the ticket office has made us put up with, it was nice to finally to the screws to them for a change....

[March 25, 2011 10:01 AM]  |  link  |  reply
kingman said

Good to hear, Paul. The view out there is not too bad at all. Greek Bumble Bee, I hear ya but that locale is actually not too bad if you have young'ens. You're near the batting cages, video games and food/ice cream stands. When the Mets are hopelessly behind in the second inning, you'll be glad you can escape your seats and let your kids see some real baseball played on the whiffle ball field.

[February 13, 2012 11:11 AM]  |  link  |  reply
Ben said

these sections seem to be OK for a view from there, looks like a second row


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