NEW YORK- Although most people do not associate the current economic crisis with the game of baseball, it does pose a major threat to the game and many of its players. As we head into another offseason with an arsenal of free agents available at every position, money is a focus of many major-league teams.
Over the last few years, Major League Baseball has set all-time highs for attendance and TV ratings. This has impacted the game positively, but the negatives include high ticket prices and record-setting deals for players.
After the 2000 season, Alex Rodriguez signed a 10-year, $252 million deal. This was an all-time high for a position player in baseball. Just a year ago, we witnessed Johan Santana receive a six-year, $137.5 million contract from the Mets, the most ever for a pitcher.
While the economic crisis has had a global affect, it will not affect the top free agents in this year's class. Free agents such as CC Sabathia, Manny Ramirez, and Mark Teixeira are attempting to set the standard for their respectful positions, and the economy will have no effect on this top class of free agents.
On the other hand, the middle tier of free agents could be severely affected by the credit crisis. Free agents such as Pat Burrell, Oliver Perez, and Orlando Cabrera could suffer from the economic crisis. While these free agents would typically earn $10-$15 million on the open market, they could get $7-$10 in this year's market.
While this may seem like it will only affect baseball negatively, this crisis will have its positive affects. Small-market teams will await the end of free agency and at this time, they could sign quality players for a fairly low cost. The middle class of free agents in this year's class will be affected by the economic crisis.
While revenues have been soaring throughout the MLB, fans can expect prices to decrease as a result of the financial crisis. Over the last few years, outrageous ticket prices have made it difficult for average families to attend Major League Baseball games.
Unfortunately, for most major-league teams, revenue will decrease as a result of the global economic crisis, which could result in decreased ticket prices.
While this would typically increase attendance, the economic crisis will cause less people to attend games, and you could be seeing empty ballparks in some small-market teams in the upcoming season.
Although the credit crisis will not have a substantial affect on the players, teams could be facing colossal losses of revenue in the upcoming seasons.