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Economy, Not Performance Enhancing Drug Talk, Impacts Baseball Business

Thanks to Alex Rodriguez, talk of performance-enhancing drugs has swallowed up all the spring training talk. And while fans say that the use of drugs bothers them, it doesn't bother them enough to stay away from the ballpark.

It has always been this way. Fans say that cheating irritates them, but they can't stay away.

This year, we can actually compare the sentiment about steroids to something else: the economy.

An ESPN/Seton Hall Sports Poll revealed that, of the people who said they would attend fewer games this year, 77.6 percent said it's because of the economy, while only 7.2 percent said it's because of performance-enhancing drugs.

So the economy is about 10 times more important, from a dollars and cents standpoint, than are performance-enhancing drugs.

Major League Baseball and the teams are very aware of this. Trust me, they spent much more time figuring out ticket prices this year than devoting time to public relations efforts.

By the way, the Boise Hawks, a Cubs affiliate, are making sure the economy doesn't keep fans away. On Monday nights throughout the 2009 season, the Hawks are making 400 tickets available to fans who can prove they are unemployed. I doubt many Major League teams will be doing that.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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