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Phillies Finances

Published today was the annual list of Phillies player salaries, but for complete listing of Phillies contract lengths and annual payouts here is a better resource, also linked to in the "salaries" box on the right.  Once again the Phils are there near the top of the list at around $95 million – depending how you classify the $22 million being spent on Jim Thome.  Player salaries are certainly a highly debatable subject, with millions of hours spent, databases filled and calculators punched to determine the proper value of players.  So is the current Phillies squad worth the money?  Well, that’s an even more contentious question.  With the current average salary per player standing at $2.87 million, a team of 25 players would average about $71 million.  Of course that’s the average – blown out by the Yankees and a handful of other superstars – not the median.

You look at a team like the Yankees or Mets who print their own money thanks to lucrative team-owned television station and they have no problem overpaying players no matter their actual value (see Billy Wagner).  Even the Orioles are cashing in on the action with the launch of MASN.  The new channel not only covers the O’s but the Nationals as well; which, when combined, accounts for the third largest television market in the country.  The poor Nationals will only see 10-25% of that money with the rest lining the pockets of Peter Angelos – another concession granted to him by MLB in exchange for moving the Expos to DC.  At this point, is anyone wondering the Phils don’t have their own station?  Well, the do partly.  Comcast SportsNet is in fact a joint venture between Comcast-Spectacor and the Philadelphia Phillies, so in exchange for broadcasting rights, they are receiving a kick-back there.  How much? I don’t know, but I am investigating it.

Besides the TV deal and the equity garnered by the new ballpark, a lot of accounts receivable obviously comes from you and me.  Team Marketing Report has just released their latest survey of Fan Cost Index (full 2006 report not yet available online, but here’s 2005), which tracks the cost of attendance for a family of four. The FCI includes: two adult average price tickets; two child average price tickets; four small soft drinks; two small beers; four hot dogs; two programs; parking; and two adult-size caps.  The Phillies FCI came in at $193.71, which sounds pretty pricey.  But when you look at all the factors which they measure, I don’t think a family really purchases all that much stuff each game it attends.  The good people at Baseball Prospectus too have a running complaint with the way FCI is calculated.  So think what you want about the Phillies financials (just don’t call it "phinancials"), there isn’t much of an argument put forth today, I just wanted to showcase the 2006 numbers.  More to come after the Phils look to rebound tonight against Mudler and the Red Birds…Go Phils!

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