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Recession Finally Setting in on the Sports World

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Recession Finally Setting in on the Sports World
(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

Bleacher Report writers need to wake up to reality.

Question: Why didn't the Mets sign Manny Ramirez?

Answer: They couldn't afford him.

Really? The New York Mets?  I don't understand...

I do. The Wilpons got disemboweled by Bernard Madoff and now face the possibility of losing Citigroup as a main sponsor.

While most writers on this site have been dwelling on the action that takes place on the fields, courts, and rinks of this troubled planet, I have been the lone gunman of the underlying financial apocalypse that is threatening to destroy the entire gamut.

Those other writers are just now getting around to discovering that there is no more money, no more expendable cash and loose credit to support sports at the levels we have grown to enjoy.

Major corporations are hurting. Advertising budgets are down. Credit card companies are slashing credit limits. Millions of Americans are out of work. All of this has led to the spigot of revenue that once flooded sports with exponential resources to be shut tight for approximately the past four months or so...and it may stay shut for some time.

Leagues and teams are laying off employees. Corporations are not renewing their ticket subscriptions. MLB is talking about contraction again. The NHL is losing more money than usual. The Sacramento Kings, who once prided themselves on sellouts, are playing to sparse crowds these days. The PGA is scrambling for support, too.

Yet on this site, all you read about are mock drafts, who's going to be some second-division team's fifth starter, and some silly mixed-martial arts bouts.

I know the target audience for Bleacher Report is the 14-32-year-old crowd that has no idea what the economy is and how it affects them. They play video games, watch meaningless drivel on cable TV, and never pick up a book or newspaper to find out what is happening in the real world.

They have never had a real job, never mind managed or owned a business.  They operate as if the sports world is impervious to the economic downturn.

It isn't.

The New York area is planning on opening three new state-of-the art stadiums in the next 18 months. The Mets will christen Citi Field, followed by the New Yankee Stadium, and the New Meadowlands will open in September 2010.

When these stadiums were proposed approximately two or three years ago, the economy seemed healthy (although the underbelly was rotting), and the four teams that were to inhabit them were giddy with the endless possibilities the increased revenue would bring.

Then, the bottom fell out. Now, these teams are struggling to sell tickets. Sure, the wealthy will come forward, buy the upscale seats, and the moderate will wait in line for the most inexpensive seats. 

The baseball teams are finding season ticket sales lagging, both full and partial packages. They both held steadfastly to their claims that there would be no single-game ticket sales. 

Needless to say, they have deviated from that stance. The Mets are offering lighter packages and pre-selling single-game seats on a month-to-month basis.

That idea has not sunk in up in the Bronx as of yet, but it will. The Yankees are still trying to find buyers for seats in the second and third-tier price ranges. 

These seats range from $150 to $750 in price. I can't afford it, can you? Don't feel bad, not many can.

Over in New Jersey, both football teams have installed seat licenses to their season tickets and have driven long-time customers to buy large-screen televisions instead of re-upping. I don't know many who can afford these, either. 

With Wall Street, the biggest sports ticket-buying industry reeling, I see all of these teams falling on some real hard times. The Yankees still spent like drunken sailors this past offseason. They underestimated the financial crisis. They may make it through 2009, but 2010 could be disastrous.

To top it off, the Nets' move to Brooklyn looks more and more like a pipe dream, and the Islanders could be headed for bankruptcy or points west. You may say who cares, but if New York is hurting, that means the rest of the country will soon follow...

I implore the young writers on this site to infuse more reality into their articles. Stop worrying about who the Raiders are going to blow their first-round draft pick on and start worrying about how they and the A's are going to stay in business.

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