Quick Links: YES ratings, fan rankings and more

Stadium setup stymieing autograph hounds
2009 Draft: BA's Fantasy Draft

I have a few Yankees articles open in various browser tabs. Time for a link dump of Yankee news and features.

We start with the YES Network and their ratings. As the Yankees were rolling over the competition en route to a finish in first place in May, the team’s RSN found itself enjoying record-setting ratings. YES averaged a 4.50 household rating in the New York area for the month. This mark is a record for a New York-based RSN broadcasting baseball, and in lay terms, it means simply that a lot of people are watching the Yanks on TV. Welcome to the bandwagon, friends.

Despite this popularity, in a new study, Forbes ranked Yankee fans in the middle of the pack in terms of value. By dividing broadcast revenue, gate receipts, sponsorship money and other revenue sources over fan base population, Forbes has ranked baseball teams by the amount per fan they draw in. The Yankees draw in just $45 per fan.

Forbes’ writer Christina Settimi called that a “middling” total, but their equation seems flawed to me. Calling the entire population of a metropolitan area the potential fanbase ignores the reality that the vast majority of city dwellers just aren’t interested or can’t go to games. How much the Yankees draw in per fan at the game and through their TV and radio broadcasts would be a far better measure of fan value.

In non-business news, the entire country of Taiwan has been living the ups and downs of Chien-Ming Wang‘s rocky season. Marc Carig interviewed various people from the Wang-crazed nation, and it’s clear that the islanders did not like how the Yankees treated their struggling hero. It’s hard to grasp just how big a deal Chien-Ming Wang is in Taiwan.

Finally, check out the new photoblog Demolition of Yankee Stadium. Yankee fan Joe Mazziliano is running the oft-updated site with pictures from the destruction of the House that Ruth Built. He promises fresh content until the replacement parks are open, and with photos from inside and outside of the stadium, his site provides a visual log of the final days of Yankee Stadium.

Stadium setup stymieing autograph hounds
2009 Draft: BA's Fantasy Draft
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    By dividing broadcast revenue, gate receipts, sponsorship money and other revenue sources over fan base population, Forbes has ranked baseball teams by the amount per fan they draw in. The Yankees draw in just $45 per fan.

    Double-edged sword: The gigantic 20M NYC metro area both allows the Yankees to have a much bigger demographic to draw fans from, and simultaneously makes it impossible to achieve full market penetration because the market is simply too large to be fully served by one team or even one sport. Which is why NYC has never been a single-team or single sport town.

    Even using only half of our metro area of 10M like they did, it’s still virtually impossible for the Yankees to get more money per capita from their fans than the Giants, Indians, Cardinals, etc. because our market is three or for times more dense than others, and that means three or four times as many people who couldn’t care less about baseball and wouldn’t attend a game if it was free.

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      Exactly. WasWatching posted this a few days ago, and I was surprised that Forbes would allow such a flawed study to run under their byline. Commenter EdB summed it pretty well at WW:

      MSA is a horrible way to judge territory boundaries for professional sports. Nielsen’s DMA (designated marketing area) would be a better map as at least it bases its boundaries on television carriage which is much more relevant to fan base than physical proximity.

      Aside from that NY has 2 baseball teams and 9 prof sports franchises (real ones). I would venture to guess there very few New Yorkers that support all 9 teams. Throw in the fact that just about every one of those teams has played for a championship in the past 25 years and you get some splintering of fan loyalties.

      Throw in a diverse immigrant population which forces the team to split its fanbase to an extent with international sports like soccer. I would venture to guess that Cleveland, St. Louis, and Milwaukee don’t have that problem.

      Currently living in Boston I can tell you the Red Sox fanbase is very real. However those numbers are flawed because the MSA does not take into account STUDENTS which make up a distinct portion of the population in Boston (and at Sox games). Hence the local revenue generated by team is drawing from much further boundaries than are indicated here.

      All in all I’d say that study just proved that the writer knows very little about sports marketing. Even with all the flaws stated above, the fact that MLB games are now available nationally (via Extra Innings) pretty much make the point moot as teams are no longer bound by these geographical boundaries.

      How about they include the entire island of Taiwan and good parts of Tokyo? I’m pretty sure the Brewers don’t generate quite as much revenue over there as the Yanks. All in all this is a very closed minded view of sports fans behavior.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        I wouldn’t even base it on population in the first place. It’s more about how much revenue you draw in per fan you reach. Do the Yankees capture more money per fan visit to the stadium than other teams do? What about more revenue per YES viewer? Those are the key numbers.

        • Chris

          I disagree. There is a component of penetration into the fanbase that’s important. Ultimately, there is no single number that will answer the question, but I would prefer to measure it based on total population (or total potential fanbase).

          I also wonder if the Yankees are hurt because there are more fans that would like to see the games than could possibly fit in the stadium. You’re obviously going to get more revenue from someone in the stands than from that same person watching at home.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            I disagree. There is a component of penetration into the fanbase that’s important.

            Is there? Really? What makes market penetration “important”?

            I’d say what’s important is generation of revenue now and prospects for generation of revenue going forward. If the Yankees have only penetrated, say, 15% of their local market and the Brewers have penetrated 80% of their local market, but the Yankees total fanbase is still much larger and brings the team much more money, and there’s no indication that the smaller market penetration presents a problem to revenue generation going forward (which it doesn’t), the relative market penetration discrepancies are rather insignificant, I’d say.

            • Chris

              I guess that comes down to what the point of this list is. If you’re looking to see who has the most rabid fans, then you’re probably more interested in the amount spent/earned per fan that is engaged.

              I am more interested in looking to assess a teams marketing capabilities/revenue outlook. From this perspective, the total market penetration is important.

              In the situation you mention, I would say the Yankees are positioned much better going forward than the Brewers. Just because penetration is important doesn’t necessarily mean more is better.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    …just look at how many posters here aren’t from the Tri-State area…sure, the Yanks are only $45 per fan…BUT WITH 10 TIMES AS MANY FANS!!!

    • http://votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

      yeah did their population thingy take into account the masses from CT and NJ?

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Ben, your discussion of YES TV ratings gave me flashbacks to the horrors of the “Mike and the Mad Dog” show. I need to take a shower now.

    5 things that should never be on the radio:
    1) Mike Francesa and Chris Russo talking about the overnight and the household share
    2) Chris Russo talking about tennis
    3) Mike Francesa talking about horse racing
    4) Chris Russo talking
    5) Mike Francesa talking

    • Chris

      I can’t remember ever hearing Francessa talk. I can only remember inane screaming.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        Who is the Francessa guy that keeps everyone so irritated anyway?!

  • yankees=warriors

    Just to offer another perspective, or dare I say, a slightly “fairer” one, things are not as crazy as Marc Carig reported in Taiwan.

    I suppose in order to support his report, he simply interviewed people that fit his profile. It’s true loads of people, even those who usually don’t, here watch games Wang is pitching, but live and die with him? Yeah, some of those overly old and young ones that have nothing else better to do, maybe. But the majority of people here have lives to live, and have more important things to worry about than a ball player’s well-being.

    Not to mention MLB isn’t even the most popular sport for people close to my age (15~24). Teenagers still prefer to watch NBA even if baseball is the “national sport” here, and even though Wang is pitching for the Yankees.

    Last but not least, I don’t know why but it seems some of these reporters covering Wang are even less knowledgable than us casual fans. They always sugar coat everything regarding Wang, and seems to have lost all sense of shame. Even my dad, the ultimate Wang fan kind, blamed Wang for not preparing himself enough during the offseason and wasting time on shooting all those commercials during Wang’s brief time in the pen.

    I won’t be sorry to see Wang dealt to another team soon. Only then will my legitimacy as a Yankee fan not be questioned anymore, and these stupid articles be gone once and for all.