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Clemens Makes No Sense, Street Sense, the Fight & More

Monday, 7 May 2007 | 12:37 PM ET
Roger Clemens
AP
Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens is a great pitcher, but at the price he commands -- the Yankees will pay him what will amount to about $4.5 million a month -- there's no way he can pay off.

I've actually done this math before -- a little more than a year ago. At the time, I figured out that Clemens drew 2,741 more fans per game at 2005 Houston Astros home games than his fellow pitchers did.

I just did the math for the 2006 season.

In games Clemens did not pitch, the Astros drew 2,621,560 fans. That works out to an average of 37,451 fans per game. In games Clemens did pitch, the Astros drew 444,672 fans. When you divide that by the 11 games that Clemens started, you discover that Clemens home games brought 40,424 fans per game in the 2006 season.

That means that, in 2006, Clemens outdrew his fellow Astros pitchers by 2,973 fans per game. With an average ticket of $26.22 in Houston, Clemens was worth 77,952 more fans, or $857,472 in additional revenue.

Clemens was worth $138,782 more in ticket revenue last season for the Astros than he was the previous season, but he didn't even come close to making any sort of money back.

A better draw for Clemens games at Yankee Stadium in 2007 is obviously worth more. The average ticket price in the Bronx is over two dollars more ($28.27, according to Team Marketing Report) than it was compared to the average ticket at Minute Maid Park in Houston in 2006.

That means if Clemens can draw the same amount of fans per game above the rest of his staff and starts making appearances in early June (three weeks before he did in 2006), Clemens could get in 14 home starts in the Bronx and generate an additional $1,117,000 in gate revenue.

But Clemens' starts in New York will probably equal less of an attendance bump than it did in Houston where Clemens was clearly the star. The Yankees are already averaging more than 49,000 fans per game and have plenty of stars on the team that influence purchasing decision on any given night. In New York, attendance is going to be based more on the day of the week than if Clemens is starting.

Call this a pure Yankees playoff play, but don't try to convince me -- even with YES -- that this deal is worth it from a financial perspective.

Now let's give you the numbers. Let's assume Clemens gets added to the Yankees roster a month from now on June 8. That means he'll be on the roster for 104 of 162 games, or 64 percent of the team's games. He would get $28 million if he had played the full year, but instead he'll get 64 percent of that, which is $17,920,000. That's $4.48 million a month.

I figure he'll make 21 starts, which means he'll make $853,333 each time. Compare that to Yanks third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who only makes $171,000 per game -- and the Yankees aren't even paying for his entire salary. If Clemens averages the same amount of pitches per start that he did in 2006 with the Astros (96 pitches/game), Clemens will make $8,888 per pitch.

I'm not trying to make your head spin with numbers, but I do want to get really technical here. Clemens will cost the Yankees more than they are paying him. Why? Because they're taxed 40 percent on it due to the luxury tax and they'll have to throw those numbers in the pool. That means the total cost of Clemens to the Yankees will actually be more than $25 million ($25,088,000, according to my calculations).

Blog reader Ryan Kennedy also points out that for each fan Clemens brings in, the Yankees will see money from a concessions increase (about $10 per fan, he estimates). So if Clemens brought 1,500 more fans per game, he'd bring in an additional $165,000 on the season. Good point Ryan, but appropriately, that's peanuts.

Seeking to find out what else I might have missed, I spoke with Vince Gennaro, a guy who I really respect after reading his new book, "Diamond Dollars: The Winning Economics of Baseball." Gennaro agreed with me that he's "more of a novelty" in Houston and therefore likely had more of a fan per game effect on the Astros than he will on the Yankees.

What I loved from Gennaro was the fact that he thought that Clemens could give them six wins. "If they win 96 games, I'd say they'd have a better than 80 percent chance of making the postseason," he said. "If they win 90 games, I'd say the Yankees have about a 30 percent chance of getting into the postseason. That's worth a lot of money. They're opening a new ballpark, where they will charge even higher ticket prices and they cannot afford to miss the playoffs."

I want to add one more thing that absolutely no one has talked about: I think the Hall of Fame can now officially think of Clemens with a Yankees cap on him.

You might remember in 2003, when Clemens said he wouldn't attend his own Cooperstown ceremony unless his plaque had him wearing an interlocking "NY." The Hall obviously reserves the right to pick whatever cap they think is historically correct. I think the fact that Clemens might retire again with the Yankees gives him better odds that he'll go in with a Yankees cap, especially if he helps the team do something miraculous this year. If Clemens retires at the end of this season, he would have played 24 seasons, 13 with the Red Sox and six with the Yankees. But he would have retired with the Yankees and won two (possibly, three) World Series titles with them.

Street Sense, Not Marketable?

If you ever want to know if a particular horse is marketable or not, you have to call David Williams, he's the owner of Horse Hats. Every year after the Derby, I call him to find out how many people are ordering hats with the logos of the winners. His read? Street Sense is not a great seller. "Street Sense cap sales are better than Giacomo, but not as good as Barbaro or Smarty Jones," Williams said. "There's just nothing too appealing about the story unlike some of the horses in the past. It's owned by an older guy who is pretty rich and there's no great story behind the horse even though it was the favorite. Should he win the Preakness and is on the verge of the Triple Crown, sales will pick up."

Williams also said that Street Sense didn't get all the glory on Saturday and throughout the weekend because horse racing fans and boxing fans are very much the same viewer. "People moved on to the (De La Hoya-Mayweather) fight a couple hours after the Derby," Williams said.

The Fight

I can't remember the last time my friends and I paid for a fight (thanks Evan) and I actually thought it was worth it. Well, Saturday night's bout between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather was actually a pretty good fight. And it was very entertaining from the start, with the interview of the terribly conflicted Floyd Mayweather Sr. to his son entering the ring in the colors of the Mexican flag with a backwards sombrero.

The most hilarious part of the fight might have been the very end when they were reading off all the sponsors. Anyone who listens to 1050 ESPN Radio is probably sick of Max Kellerman saying the word "Cazadores"; they were one of the many sponsors of the fight. Anyway, at the end of the fight, they're going through all the sponsors -- Tecate, Rockstar, etc. -- and they get to Cazadores tequila and they say, "Cazadores, the one with the deer on it." I couldn't stop laughing. The Cazadores bottle has a deer on it, but it's hilarious that's actually their motto.

News & Notes

Loved that the San Francisco Giants wore "Gigantes" jerseys for Cinco De Mayo, but to be honest I'm a little confused why the Giants did this before other teams did. According the numbers I've seen, San Francisco has the 14th largest Mexican population behind the big cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia, among others... Crocs hit the $70 mark for the first time a little after 9:30 a.m. ET today... Those who bet with Bodog.com that Queen Elizabeth II would wear a red hat to the Kentucky Derby won their bets.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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