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You get what you pay for

November 7, 2009
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Yankees owner George Steinbrenner spends his money on his team, while other owners fatten their wallets.

As the Yankees won their 27th World Series championship last Wednesday, the criticism on how they regained their supremacy in Major League Basebal has already begun.

Those who do not subscribe to the Yankee way — which is pretty much everyone outside of NY — argue that the reason the Yankees win, is simply, because they spend the most money.

But as we all know, spending the most money doesn’t always equate into a championship (reference years 2002-2008 for the Yankees.)

It’s how you spend that money that determines how far a franchise can go. And it just so happens that the Yankees, in 2009, prudently invested in its product, while other teams sought out bargain deals that never panned out…sorry Theo and Omar.

Yes, the Yankees spent more than any other team over the last 9 years. I can’t deny that.

But one reason why the Yankees can afford to spend that much is because of their profit every year. Only four teams in the last two decades have attracted more than four million fans in a single season. The Mets did it once in 2008, the Blue Jays in 1991 and 1993, and the Rockies in 1993. The Yankees did it in 2005, 06, 07, 08 and 09. It’s not the Yankees fault that they are an international brand that attracts more fans than any other baseball team, and because of that, have more capital to spend.

Interestingly enough, you would think George Steinbrenner is the wealthiest owner in baseball, right?

Wrong.

Steinbrenner is actually sixth behind Twins owner Carl Pohlad, Braves owner John Malone, Tigers owner Mike Ilitch,

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Mark Teixeira, one of Steinbrenner's best investments, led the AL in homeruns and RBIs.

 Rangers owner Tom Hicks and Red Sox owner John Henry.

That’s right. Twins owner Carl Pohlad is tied for 114th on the Forbes list of the wealthiest 400 people in the country, with an estimated fortune of $3.1 billion. From the New York times, “Because the Twins always have had one of the lower payrolls in the major leagues, they are criticized by wealthier teams for not using the money they get from revenue sharing on their payroll. In the last five years, the Twins have received an average of $20 million a year in revenue sharing, but their payroll has not increased proportionately.”

Pohlad pockets his cash. Steinbrenner reinvests his. There’s the difference. Other teams have more money than the Yankees, but choose to fatten their own wallets, rather than fattening their team’s chances to win by investing in better talent.

Isn’t this what Americans always complains about? Corporate America reaping all the profits and benefits, and never reinvesting the money in the product that made them so rich? That’s why Steinbrenner is a great owner. He sees his product as an investment, something to put money into and make money back on, while other owners view their team as a means to fill their wallets, rather than the seats in their stadiums.

Though they are two different sports, I’d like to point out how spending more money than any other team doesn’t always equate into a championship. Here are the top 1o payrolls in the NBA:

1. New York Knicks: $94,368,270

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The last championship Knicks team.

2. Dallas Mavericks: $92,758,122

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: $90,329,718

4. Portland Trail Blazers: $80,600,059

5. Boston Celtics: $79,659,701

6. Houston Rockets: $75,231,879

7. Los Angeles Lakers: $75,255,408

8. Phoenix Suns: $75,245,418

9. Sacramento Kings: $74,613,915

10. Toronto Raptors: $72,782,229

80 percent of those teams haven’t sniffed a championship in decades. The Knicks spend the most, but are currently, the worst team in the NBA. The Lakers spent $25 million less than the Knicks, but have  four rings in the last nine years. Only more  reasoning that it’s not about the amount of money spent, but how it’s invested.

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One comment

  1. How about a owner who is gonna have his team and fans playing/watching in the cold because he is too goddamn cheap to have a retractable roof– another instance of a rich rich humanbeing being extremely frugal.



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