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Lower attendance, revenues haunting Mets front office

New York MetsThe austerity package embraced by the New York Mets may have helped stem the losses from Citi Field operations, but debt still looms for a franchise looking at another sub-.500 season.

In a filing with New York City Industrial Development Agency, which issued the construction bonds for the ballpark, the Mets released a partial picture of the team’s financials, per The New York Times Baseball Blog:

Ticket receipts from Citi Field’s most expensive 10,635 seats — the biggest source of revenue — fell nearly 13 percent to $43.9 million from $50.5 million in 2011. Advertising revenue also fell, to $44.2 million from $46.1 million. Luxury suite revenue took a small hit, dropping from $7.7 million to $7.5 million. But revenue from concessions, parking and “other” increased.

Revenue fell over all, to $121.5 million from $126.9 million. In 2010, it was $143.9 million.

Of course, this was a very incomplete picture of the team’s ledgers: it doesn’t include all of the seating at the ballpark, and it doesn’t cover major revenue streams like national and local TV revenues. Despite all the challenges, the Mets are managing to make all bond payments and repaying money borrowed from Major League Baseball.

Still, all of this doesn’t really address one basic fact: New York loves a winner, and while the Mets’ farm system is better than it was a year ago, it’s still not a overall collection of upper-level prospects. Jim Callis of Baseball America pegged it in the 18-20 range. Putting resources into a farm system is one of the least glamorous ways to spend money if you’re an MLB owner, but it’s also one of the most necessary. If the Mets aren’t going to be players on the free-agent market, the only other way to build a winner is through the farm system. Given his track record, Sandy Alderson certainly knows that.


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