The only team required to make financial records public as part of a lease, the Seattle Mariners claimed a loss for 2009 — a possible bellwether for MLB.
The Seattle Mariners are considered one of the most profitable teams in Major League Baseball, so the team’s announcement of an operating loss for the 2008 season — the first for the team since moving to Safeco Field in 1999.
While some argue sports teams are recession-proof, the Mariners are an example that MLB teams can indeed be affected by the bad economy. True, some of the problems experienced by the team are their own fault: attendance was down 13 percent for the year, and the team had major difficulties on the field, leading to some housecleaning in the front office.
But not all the financial problems were due to the team itself. The Mariners recently laid off four employees in retail operations, saying soft sales in team apparel and hats meant less need for employees to manage orders.
The loss comes after a decent 2007, when the Mariners posted a $17.8 million profit. The team is required to file an annual report with the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District as a condition of the Safeco Field lease.