Things are not getting any better over at Target Field

MoneyI was updating the “Salaries” page with 2016 Forbes team valuation data and decided to see how some of the Minnesota Twins numbers stack up going back to 2010 when the team last made the playoffs. But first here is what the Forbes Twins profile states for 2016:

“Minnesota’s home attendance has fallen every season since the team moved into Target Field in 2010. During the ballpark’s inaugural season, average attendance was 34,287. Only 27,408 per game paid to come through the turnstiles last season. Likely reason: the Twins have the third-highest non-premium average ticket price ($33) in the American League, yet have posted only two winning seasons (2010, 2015) since moving into Target Field. Meanwhile, the team failed to win more than 70 games during each of the other four seasons at Target Field. The team’s relatively quiet off-season was highlighted by a four-year, $24.85 million investment in Korean slugger Byung Ho Park.”

YEAR TEAM VALUE /REVENUE PLAYER EXPENSES PLAYER EXP % of REVENUE
2016 $910/$240 $125 52.08%
2015 $895/$223 $106 47.53%
2014 $605/$221 $97 43.89%
2013 $578/$214 $122 57.00%
2012 $511/$213 $121 56.80%
2011 $490/$213 $112 52.58%
2010 $405/$162 $83 51.23%

Interactive Whiteboards by PolyVision

(Team value, revenue and player expenses are in millions)

The Twins team value  has gone up every year, more than doubling from 2010 when they moved into Target Field, team revenue has also gone up every year but one when it stayed stagnant. From 2010-2016 the team has brought in $1.486 billion in revenue and the player expense for that time period comes out to $766 million which means that over these seven years the Twins spent 51.55% on player expenses.

But what does that really mean? Not much in my opinion because it depends on how the money is spent, you can spent 75% of your revenue on player expenses but if you are not getting good value for your money and you are paying for players not longer with the team, or for pitchers that can’t pitch or $23 million for an average player than the numbers mean nothing. But yet lots of people are interested in what ownership is spending on player salaries and expenses. It is not totally clear in the Forbes report what all falls in the player expenses category other than player salaries.

Bottom line of course is how many games you win and if you get in the playoffs where anything can happen. Since 2010 the Twins have appeared in the playoffs just once and their record between 2010 and today stands at 460 wins and 572 losses for a winning percentage of 44.57%.

Team owner Jim Pohlad, President Dave St. Peter and GM Terry Ryan have each said over and over again that it is not about the money and I truly do believe that. Jim Pohlad wants a championship on his ownership resume badly but that doesn’t mean that he wants to spend money foolishly either. So the question is, if it is not about the money then what is left in the equation? There are always the players, the coaching staff, and of course the management. We have changed players over and over again trying the old and the young but no luck there. The manager and the coaching staff were changed and yet the Twins team is marching straight towards a record-breaking bad season. That leaves the management, the President and the GM, the glue that keeps the organization headed forward or are they? One problem solving technique used over the years by many of us is if all else fails than change out one part at a time until the engine starts. BUT, you can’t fix the problem until you admit that you have a problem. What a sorry situation we Twins fans find ourselves in, and it is only June 10.

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5 Responses to Things are not getting any better over at Target Field

  1. Okay, in 2010 their non-payroll expense was $81. The last three seasons it has hovered around $125 million. It may cost a bit more to draft (counting the international), but what does that $80-120 million get you,: debt reduction, front office salaries, a more green field. We have never established what it actually costs to run a team like the Minnesota Twins from staff down to ushers.

    And, wow, to have something go up in value from $410 million to $900 million in a 7-year span, and you are still making money each season and still able to pay down your own investment/debt for the Target Field experience. Whew! Someone IS getting rich here.

    Again, this 52% of revenue thing has always been a joke. Like a good company that renegotiates their union contracts, then immediately buys another company that will siphon off some of its sales with non-union work, plus increase the price of product and other such endeavors until next contract time….it is a good business.

    Yes, Target Field Year One had great attendance, and the Twins held ticket prices down. They also were working on advance (discounted) ticket revenue those first couple of years. Now, like last year (27,000) they were taking in more bucks per ticket than ever before because they controlled most of the unsold tickets, rather than a secondary market.

    But like players that are paid more than their worth to perform, empty season ticket seats also cause despair, as those empty seats don’t buy beer and brats or merchandise, yet you are paying to have opportunities for all pre-sold buyers to do things at the stadium.

    • Oldgoat_MN says:

      The fact that the estimated value of the Twins has gone up every year has nothing to do with the year to year expenses and revenues. The Pohlads do not realize any of that ‘make believe value of the team’ revenue until they sell the team.

      At the risk of sounding like an apologist for the Pohlads, which major sport in the Twin Cities has brought us a world championship? Since the Minneapolis Lakers won it all in 1954 it has been the Twins and only the Twins. And they did it twice. Both times they were owned by the Pohlads.

  2. Platoon says:

    Neither Pohlads rare interviews, or his oversight of the field operation give any credence to the theory that he badly wants a championship on his resume! Interview analysis can be tricky, because what and how things are said don’t always translate to print. But it is evident that if he really wanted to win, that by now a change in philosophy would have occurred. Not a thing. This operation is judged solely by the P&L.

  3. shimrod says:

    Keep in mind the event that stopped contraction was the judge’s ruling that the Twins would have to open the books. This organization was minting money even before the taxpayers built Target Field.

    • shimrod says:

      Sorry, should have completed my thought. If the Twins could have shown contraction was justified because they were losing money/breaking even they would have. They plead poverty for years and when asked to prove it they immediately pulled the proposed contraction off the table. The ownership aren’t just cheap, they’re liars as well.

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