Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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The money tale of two World Series teams

October 18, 2014

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After a lot of extra-inning games, the 2014 World Series matchup has finally been decided. The Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants have some things in common regarding how they got so deep into October — both reached the Series via wild card games and strong bullpens.

But that’s where the similarities between these two clubs end, at least financially. Here’s a quick look at the money tale of these two teams.

Ticket sales.

The Royals’ regular season total attendance was 1.95 million, whereas the Giants had a whopping 3.36 million. This difference can be attributed to many factors, winning being one of them. San Francisco has won two World Series since 2010; this is Royals’ first trip to the postseason since 1985.

Capacity is another — AT&T Park can hold 41,503 fans and Kauffman only 37,903. Those two realities, combined with how much larger the Bay Area is in population compared with Kansas City, are big reasons why the Giants are valued at $1 billion (the fifth highest in MLB) and the Royals $490 million (second to last).

These statistics, however, do not mean that Kansas City is in dire economic straits. Its 2014 attendance numbers were its highest since the early 1990s when the club attracted more than two million fans per year. It’s also important to keep in mind that MLB has a generous revenue-sharing program that was instituted back in ’96 that helps a team like the Royals stay competitive with a behemoth like the Yankees (worth $2.5 billion).

Payrolls.

But the Giants still have a large economic advantage over their challenger, especially when we factor in San Francisco’s lucrative TV deal. Inevitably, this shows in their payrolls: The Giants have the seventh-highest payroll in MLB ($148.3 million) and the Royals come in 21st ($91.2 million).

Does any of this matter this far into the postseason? Definitely not. These numbers demonstrate just how much baseball has changed over the last twenty years when big money could almost guarantee franchises a trip to the Fall Classic.

Having tons of cash certainly didn’t help the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies reach the 2014 postseason.

Here’s the dramatic way the Giants clinched their World Series bid. The series begins Tuesday at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City.

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Zach Bergson is a contributing editor for the Reynolds Center, and an editorial producer for Sports on Earth. Follow him @zbergson.

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