Derek Jeter seems pretty confident the Miami Marlins are on the right track. In his business plan detailing what he would do if selected as the team’s partial owner, Jeter projected not only big profits for the Marlins down the road, but a big spike in attendance as well.
The plan, which was acquired by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, paints an optimistic view of the Marlins in the future. According to Jeter, the Marlins will be extremely profitable and popular … and they won’t have to spend a ton of money to get there. In other words, he’s tried to convince investors the Marlins would be the perfect franchise.
That was the main pitch Jeter’s group made to investors in August. And, well, what did you expect him to say? Of course he was going to prop up the organization. That’s kind of his job.
Jackson has a strong breakdown of the particulars, which are overly optimistic bordering on fantasy. But the biggest thing that stands out is Jeter’s projection that attendance will increase mightily over the next few years.
The Marlins generated about $30 million in ticket revenue last season, but Wolverine projects increases to $37.5 million in 2018 and $40.6 million and $45.8 million the following two seasons.
According to a source, even though the National League announced the Marlins’ attendance at 1.6 million last season, only 820,000 were paid tickets.
Wolverine projects the paid figures to rise to 1.1 million, 1.2 million, 1.35 million, 1.5 million and 1.65 million over the next five seasons.
It’s worth noting that those projections were made before the team traded away Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. While you might be inclined to think Jeter tricked investors, that’s not the case. Jeter made it pretty clear in his pitch that the team would operate with a lower payroll this year. Anyone who invested had to know cost-cutting moves were in the team’s future.
That only adds to the confusion, though. If everyone knew the Marlins were going to drastically cut payroll, why didn’t they question those attendance figures?
Even the most optimistic Marlins fan would have a tough time figuring out how the club expects to get an additional $7.5 million in ticket revenue next year. At the time this plan was sent, it was plausible to believe having Jeter’s name on the ownership group would bring more fans out in 2018. Not only that, but getting Jeffrey Loria out of control might have led to some fans gladly coming back.
But since then, Jeter has alienated parts of the fanbase by trading away Stanton, Gordon and Ozuna. Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto are great players, but it’s tough to imagine fans paying an additional $7.5 million more to watch them try to carry the other 23 Marlins on their backs every single night. That might be entertaining, but we wouldn’t call it fun.
There are other ways to make money, of course. Perhaps Jeter believes he can get more businesses in the area to invest in luxury boxes or season tickets. Maybe he has some strong marketing ideas aimed at getting fans back in the seats. Successfully re-branding a team can go a long way.
We haven’t seen any of those policies from the Marlins just yet, but they could be coming.
They kind of have to be coming. Because no logical person can look at the team’s current roster and project a $7.5 million spike in ticket revenue.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik