The Blue Jays are selling loads of tickets, so that should grow next year’s payroll, right???

Roger Centre seating chart
Image via BlueJays.com

According to Forbes, in 2015 the Blue Jays made $59-million in gate receipts. That number is corroborated (or perhaps simply lifted?) by a site called Statista, which also lists the Jays’ 2014 gate receipts, telling us they come in at $48 million.

The $59-million figure for 2015 works out to $21.11 per ticket (presumably USD) for 2,794,891 tickets sold. Do some quick and dirty math and take that same per-ticket figure and apply it to the 2,375,525 tickets sold in 2014 and you get $50.15-million — which is pretty close to the $48-million figure Statista gives (and conceivably shoots high because ticket prices went up in 2015). Apply it to the attendance number for 2013 (2,536,562) and you get $53.5-million, which is pretty close to Statista’s $56-million figure for that year.

In other words, based on the ticket prices of last year, $21.11 per ticket seems like it might be a reasonable enough number. Especially if we assume that the club’s 2015 playoff revenue isn’t counted in these figures, which makes at least a little bit of sense because of the way that gates are split and MLB controls that process — though I’m totally just thinking my way through a subject I will admit isn’t exactly my area of expertise (which probably became obvious the second I used Forbes as a source).

So then, what do we make of the tweet below and what it means for the future of this club’s payroll?

For starters, we need to be clear that “up 12,000” must mean from this point last year, as the club ended up finishing at 34,505 per game. Still, that’s a pretty good increase in its own right, and I know I certainly got a bit cynical about it:

But gripes at the multi-billion dollar corporation using their baseball team’s content to subsidize their TV network and its horrific NHL deal aside, if the numbers above kinda translate, maybe they can give us some kind of a ballpark figure as to where 2016 ticket revenue is going.

So let’s extrapolate: if the Jays are averaging 37,655 per home game, that puts them on pace to sell 3,050,055 tickets this season. At $21.11 per ticket, that bumps ticket revenue to something more like $64.4-million.

It’s not a huge difference, but there are reasons we can expect it to go up by even more than that. For one, if the Jays stay in the playoff race throughout the summer, the per-game attendance figure will almost certainly rise. And for two, the Jays increased ticket prices pretty significantly for a lot of seats this year — especially the lowest priced ones. A season ticket on the 500 level that cost $635 in 2014 now costs $1,134, for example.

They’ve also changed to a dynamic pricing system for single-game tickets, all of which should bump up that $21.11 per ticket quite a bit.

In fact, elsewhere on Jose Statista‘s site, they give the Jays’ average ticket price for 2016 as $31, compared to $25 last year. Obviously, then, my figures are screwy (or theirs are!), but you get the idea, at least.

So, just for fun, let’s say that, instead of going straight to that $31 figure, we use the $6 difference and add it to our $21.11. In other words, let’s multiply the 3,050,055 tickets the Jays are on pace to sell by $27.11. From that you get $82.7-million.

Now we’re really talking! And since I’d imagine that stadium overhead is probably not all that different from year to year (because I’m soo going to just not worry about where the money for the dirt infield came from), can we figure, then, that they’re on pace for something on the order of an extra $20-million?

No! We totally can’t! This math is so ugly it went into a haunted house and came out with a paycheque!

But to be ahead of their 2015 pace already, with a whole bunch of summer sellouts and a potential playoff race still to come? Ticket revenue absolutely looks like it’s on its way up. And we should certainly try to keep that front of mind, just in case the team ends up crying poor and failing to add pieces at the trade deadline (which, granted, will probably have more to do with their unwillingness to move prospects), or watching Edwin bolt to Boston and Jose winding up in pinstripes (of the Arizona variety, obvs) next winter.

Not that we’ve ever seen Rogers do such a thing before! *COUGH*

  • fred2

    And add merchandise …. It’s not long since the only person you saw in Jays gear was your grandad, and now it’s everywhere.

    But the problem is that baseball finances just don’t exist in the real world. Rogers will claim they don’t have enough if they want to, probably using the US dollar as a semi-legitimate excuse. They did it in 2014.

    They’ll be more worried about return on investment. Does paying an extra $20 million (US) in payroll next year translate into a guaranteed extra $40 million (CAD) in revenue? Probably not. So as a pure business decision, increasing payroll on an already successful team is not necessarily sensible. That’s why teams run by millionaire idiots who don’t care about the bottom line are arguably better off than teams run by billionaire corporations who have to answer to shareholders.

  • The Craig

    If the revenue lift is anywhere near what Stoeten is guessing at here, I think it will be fairly obvious to the corporate overlords that investing in a winning product is in the best interest of the stake holders. Add that into the spill over benefit of the tv, radio, magazine and even goodwill attached to the Rogers name and you’ve got a very sound business case for investing more into the baseball operations. It will come down to the baseball people, Shapiro in particular to determine if the cost-benefit ratio is sound and if the contract structures work long term. By all accounts Shapiro is a sharp business minded individual who should in my opinion be able to bridge the gap between the board of directors and what the baseball people need in order to keep the gravy train rolling. Let’s hope he can!