The Wilpon's financial woes are a daily news downer.
Here is yet another article from the NY Times on the Mets money problems
* 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.