Frank McCourt’s sales pitch landed on the desks of prospective Dodgers bidders Monday, and the ideas on how to make money from the team included this one: Raise ticket prices.
Not in precisely those words, of course. However, the so-called “bid book” advised prospective owners that the Dodgers’ average ticket price last season ranked 10th in the major leagues, even though the team played in the second-largest market in the majors.
The Dodgers have cut ticket prices for next season, after posting their lowest attendance in a non-strike season since 1992. Their average price for a non-premium seat last season was $30.59, trailing the two New York teams, the two Chicago teams, the Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros, according to Team Marketing Report.
The Angels’ average ticket price was $17.13, according to Team Marketing Report.
The bid book is designed to help prospective owners decide whether to bid on the Dodgers and how much the team might be worth. The Times obtained its information from someone who has seen the book but is not authorized to disclose its contents.
The Dodgers generated about $240 million in revenue last season, according to the book. That figure would be essentially even with 2006 and down 17% from a record $289 million in 2008, according to records filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. The Dodgers’ revenue has declined every year since then.
The Dodgers turned a profit of about $2 million last season, but before debt payments that almost assuredly turned that small profit into a double-digit loss. The Dodgers’ profit before debt service dropped about $27 million from the 2010 season.
The Dodgers’ debt exceeds $599 million, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court testimony of the investment banker leading the sale on behalf of McCourt, the outgoing owner.
The bid book also reminds prospective owners of an annual $14-million payment the Dodgers must provide as rent at Dodger Stadium to another McCourt entity not included in the sale and says that figure is scheduled to increase as soon as 2015.