In the wake of the passing of George Steinbrenner, ESPN has repeatedly mentioned the massive revenue stream which his ownership helped build for the Yankees. Whatever one thinks of Mr. Steinbrenner’s legacy, he was a magnificent businessman and a fan’s dream owner.
Over the years–in the comment section here as elsewhere–we repeatedly hear people complain about the Wilpons, saying they wish Met ownership cared about winning as much as George Steinbrenner, how much they wish the Wilpons would spend as large a percentage of revenue on salaries as the Yanks, how the Mets’ revenue stream is just as large being in NY, etc., etc., etc.
Well, with the facts being trumpeted all over the place, the time could not be better to tell these Nattering Nabobs of Negativity how wrong they are–about all of this. Those of us who are fond of facts have always suspected that this may be the case, but with the numbers being bandied about, there could not be a more opportune time to set the record straight.
According to ESPN, Forbes, The Biz of Baseball, ItsAboutTheMoney.net, and other sources, the Mets spend a HIGHER percentage of their revenue on salaries than the Yanks do. Read that again and let it sink in.
From ItsAboutTheMoney.net, with assists from Forbes and elsewhere: “But hereâ€™s an odd fact: take the top 8 revenue-earning teams in baseball (Yanks, Red Sox, Cubs, Phils, Mets, Tigers, White Sox and Angels). Make a guess: which of these 8 teams spends the lowest percentage of revenues on player payroll? The lowest payroll among the top 8 revenue teams, measured in terms of percentage of total team revenues, belongs to the Yankees.”
The Yankees spent 46.8% of revenues on payroll last year, and the small market/don’t-want-to-win Coupons spent 50.2%.
Now, there are mitigating factors to be sure–there is the luxury tax issue, and there is the huge fact that MLB teams are private businesses which can be hard to scrutinize (often, as is the case with the Mets, the team’s finances are just a shadowy part of a larger overall corporation), and there is always the question of being able to trust today’s irresponsible media.
However, when looking at numbers provided for all of these teams, the message is quite clear—as is the case with almost every issue, the Nattering Nabobs of Negativity are dead wrong. The Wilpons DO spend a very reasonable share of their revenue on salaries. They just do not have the revenue the Yankees have. Nor does any other team. The Yankees were winning titles with internationally-known superstars in the 1920s and 1930s; the Mets played their first game in 1962.
The message? The reasonable, educated, realistic fan sure should be frustrated at one title since 1969. But to complain about the spending of the Wilpons and to suggest that they don’t care about winning and are cheap–this is just nonsense, no matter how one approaches it.
The Mets are on the right track to be sure, as their roster of young-to-very-young stars, rookies, and prospects clearly shows.
Despite the mind-numbing repetition of the Chorus of Complaint, the facts are that the Wilpons DO want to win and DO spend a very sizable portion of revenue on salaries.