Major League Baseball (MLB) has a diverse array of teams; some pour vast resources into improving, while others seem content with a modest approach. The New York Yankees, with their enormous revenue, exemplify the former. The league’s 48% revenue-sharing model ensures some of this wealth gets distributed among other teams.
Yankees’ President Calls Out Lower Market Teams
Yankees president Randy Levine recently critiqued teams in Florida, specifically pointing out their lackluster attendance records. The Tampa Bay Rays’ recent feat of recording the lowest playoff game attendance since 1919 certainly didn’t go unnoticed by Levine. Despite their commendable performance over the years, the Rays’ weak market attendance hints at a potential need to relocate to an area with more baseball enthusiasts.
“Although, I think that a lot more focus has to be on individual teams to do better and not rely on revenue sharing,” Levine said in a clip posted by Sportico’s editor-in-chief. “You can’t have two Florida teams averaging 15,000 fans. You can’t have it. You don’t go into an NFL stadium or NBA arena and see that.”
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A Sport in Need of Revitalization
It’s no secret that baseball’s popularity waned for some time before the league took steps to appeal to younger fans and shorten game durations. But the real rejuvenation may lie in motivating team owners to reinvest in their teams, creating franchises that fans can rally behind. As Levine pointed out, empty seats are rarely a problem for NBA or NFL games.
Year after year, the MLB sees a consistent pattern: dominant teams remain on top, while others with smaller budgets remain in the shadows. However, the emergence of analytics has somewhat leveled the playing field in recent seasons. Even the high-rolling Yankees, despite their efforts, missed the playoffs this year.
Fans crave competitiveness. The Yankees, with their earnest endeavors to clinch championships, resonate with this spirit, even if they haven’t reached the World Series pinnacle in over a decade. While Levine’s perspective on teams’ under-investment is valid, it might be time for the MLB to re-evaluate stadium locations, ensuring they are strategically placed near major population hubs. After all, Tampa’s stadium might benefit from proximity to a more substantial fanbase.