Ken Griffey Jr. is returning to the Seattle Mariners in 2009 for $2 million. But there will $2.5 million in incentives on the line as well. One of the most interesting incentives Griffey can earn is based on the Mariners attendance. The target number hasn't been disclosed, but if the Mariners surpass it, Griffey will get that bonus money.
Last year, the Mariners drew 2.32 million fans, the lowest total since 1995, when the team was still playing in the Kingdome.
Attendance incentives have been around before.
In 1997, the St. Louis Cardinals drew 2.63 million fans. So when they signed Mark McGwire, they agreed to give him $1 per for each fan that entered Busch Stadium beyond 2.75 million. McGwire earned $445,691 extra when the home run race of 1998 brought in a then team record 3.19 million fans that season.
In 2002, Kenny Lofton had an attendance clause in his contract that stated that if the White Sox went above a certain attendance number, he'd earn $1.4 million. Lofton was later traded to the Giants and it was eventually negated.
In 2004, Roger Clemens took a hometown discount and agreed to a $5 million deal with the Houston Astros that included attendance incentives. He reportedly earned $3 million from the attendance bump that year.
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