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Androvett Blog

by Dave Moore at 5:03:29 pm

Rangers Swinging for the Fences With Attendance, Must Beware of Overspending

Since baseball really is all about statistics, consider this: The Texas Rangers’ average regular season home-field attendance has increased more this year than for nearly any other team in Major League Baseball, according to data from Baseball-Reference.com. (The Cleveland Indians had the largest average per-game increase, with about 5,500 additional fans per game over the 2010 season; the Rangers saw an average increase of about 5,400 fans per game.)

Now, the Rangers are in the race for the American League pennant for the second year in a row, which means another infusion of revenue, if what the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal wrote last year is true (subscription required):

The (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) reported $12.1 million in revenue from hosting five first- and second-round playoff games in 2009 and nearly $4.4 million for hosting two first-round games in 2008, according to the reports published by Deadspin.com.

The (Tampa Bay) Rays made almost $17.7 million in revenue on the six postseason games they hosted in 2008. Having two home games in the World Series helped boost those results.

Given the boost from regular-season attendance and post-season play, it would seem that the Rangers organization – which was sold at bankruptcy auction last year – should be immunized from financial trouble.

If only that were so, says Dallas bankruptcy attorney and Rangers fan Derek Rollins, a partner at the Dallas law firm Shackelford, Melton & McKinley. Rollins says an increase in revenue doesn’t vaccinate the team from future financial peril.

“Their growing fan base and second consecutive appearance in post-season play make it easier for the Rangers organization to sell box seats, advertising and team merchandise. Winning teams sell,” says Rollins, who attended portions of last year’s Rangers bankruptcy hearings. “It's what the ownership does with the money that can get them into trouble. If you start to spend like George Steinbrenner, but don't have that kind of money, you can land back in bankruptcy court.”