Washington’s Newest Monument??

By Prof. Clifford Benton, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: June 9, 2010

QUEENS, N.Y. (BASN) — If I knew then what I know now.

Sounds familiar?

I had Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Bob Gibson, Denny McClain, Ernie Banks, et al. for twenty-five cents a pack.

I’m talking baseball cards.

We’re talking about a collection that would be worth several thousands today. But Mom said, “You can’t go out to play until you clean your room,” and common sense went out the window, and so did the cards.

Well, if you had the good fortune of attending the debut of baseball rookie phenom $tephen $ra$burg, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, I’ve got some advice for you: Save your ticket stub.

Lock it in a vault, or get to the bank and put it in the safety deposit box. It’s a day later and that stub’s value has appreciated at least three times the initial ticket price.

There was this fan who was sitting in the bleachers. He had the best seat in the house but didn’t realize it. He was lucky enough to be in the path of two-run homer launched by Pittsburgh Pirate right fielder Delwyn Young.

It was the first homer given up by $tra$burg in the major league — the first (meaning, there can’t be another first). And the poor guy didn’t really sense the moment, and he did the unthinkable.

He caught the ball, and then he threw the ball — back on to the field.

I guess he felt he was making a statement. And he did, but I won’t go there. I guess we all have mental lapses.

This one happened to cost this guy at least $25,000.

$tra$burg’s stat line was as follows: seven innings pitched, four hits, 14 strikeouts, and no walks. 65 of his 94 pitches were strikes, and his ERA was a respectable 2.57.

More impressive, though, was that he seemed to be getting stronger, striking out the last seven batters he faced.

But let’s cut to the cut (not chase). This is BASN Sports Business where we delve into the business aspects of all things sports. $tra$burg will earn $15.1 million over four years.

That’s less than $4 million per year which makes him a borderline pauper by major league baseball standards.

Yesterday’s attendance topped 40,000 for the Washington Nationals, on a weekday, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Normally, they’d be lucky to get half that number.

Let’s take out the trusty calculator, and do a little math. If $tra$burg pitching means the Nationals draw an additional 20,000 and the average price of a ticket is about $20, he generated an extra $400,000 in ticket revenue.

Don’t put the calculator away just yet. Suppose each extra person spends on average $5 (it could be on food, souvenirs, merchandise, etc.), that’s another $100,000.

We’re talking about a half million with very conservative numbers.

Right now, $tra$burg generates more money than anyone in Major League Baseball — by a bunch.

It’s the day after, and how many jerseys were sold just in the D.C.

area?

Advertisers are lining up right now. It’s not too soon. In fact, it’s late. This is a bandwagon that advertisers should have been on — yesterday.

If you wait, it’s like buying an umbrella in the rain. Price goes up.

Five dollars when it’s sunny; seven dollars when it’s raining. What happens when he pitches again, and he’s lights out? Price goes up. With every strikeout, the price goes up.

The Nationals have four years to milk $tra$burg’s star power.

Now, rumor has it that the owner has deep pockets. Well, if that’s true, he has a critical decision to make. Re-sign him now, or let him walk.

You can sign him for $25 million per, now.

It’ll cost you $40 million per year in 2014-15. 40 million.

If he has a good agent who can do the math, 40 million per.

If you’re selling out stadiums everywhere you pitch, and you have 35 starts every season.

Do the math. Not the math I did with the conservative estimates. I’m talking about the real math. The calculation that shows he means an extra million, not half million per game.

The calculation that shows merchandise with his name costs more and sells more than merchandise with the names of other athletes.

The calculation that shows how he stimulates the economies of other nations when he visits, i.e., China, Japan, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Columbia, Puerto Rico (a commonwealth), etc.

You still don’t see how he commands $40 million per year? I’ll make it plain. There’s a team in New York called the Yankees. And there’s another team in Boston called the Redsox.

Rumor has it that they’re rivals.

There’s also this team called the Mets. The bidding starts in the low 30s and goes in a “northernly” direction.

The more I think about this — you know what? — I’m going to get a pack of baseball cards and hope that his card is in there. I’ll put it in the safest of places and maybe sell it in another 50 years.

BASN Nation. Get back to me. Here’s my question to you: What should the Nationals do to keep $tra$burg? What products should $trasburg endorse?

Readers Note: At BASN Sports Business, we want the BASN Nation to be writers, not just readers, in other words, a “dollar” (figuratively speaking) for your thoughts.

E-mail your P.E.A.R.L.S. (Perspective, Expertise, Advice, Reasons, Learnings & Solutions) to cbenton@blackathlete.com. I want to incorporate your feedback in subsequent articles.