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  • Do the Tigers really have that much more money than the Twins?

    This is back-of-the-napkin type math based on a lot of assumption so please, do not attempt to cite the concluded numbers as final. They are, in essence, an educated guess that is founded from bits and pieces of available public information. But let’s use it to attempt to figure out why the Tigers are able to make it rain on the free agent market while the Twins are left counting pennies.

    The Tigers recently signed Torii Hunter to a two-year, $26 million deal. With that addition, Detroit now has five players under contract for 2013 who are scheduled to make $10 million or more for a grand total of $81 million. Plus, they have not completely ruled out extending pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who is seeking roughly $15 million per year. How is it that the Tigers are spending small principalities worth of money while the Twins stand idly by and target the one or two-year bargains?

    Detroit made approximately $93.93M at the gate last year (based on attendance multiplied by the $31 ticket price average sold). The Twins, on the other hand, made $91.74M (averaging $33 per ticket sold). That’s without taking into consideration advertising the stadium, suites, luxury boxes, concessions (which can range from $3.4 million to $20 million depending on the attendance and offerings). Assuming the Tigers were one of the teams to make the higher end of that based on their competitiveness and relatively new stadium, with a payroll of $133 million in 2012, they likely came in $10 million short. Comparatively, the Twins who also likely made the higher end of the stadium-generated revenue from suites and concessions, could have potentially made $10 million in profits (without taking in to consideration the operating costs, farm system expenses, etc, etc).

    Then there is the benefits of being a playoff team. According to research done by BizofBaseball.com’s Maury Brown, teams can stand to make an average of $1 to $2 million per game in the playoffs. If we split the difference, the Tigers could have made approximately $19.5 million for the 13 games played in October. In addition to that, Brown notes, the real windfall is the revenue generated for the following year as the club receives additional season ticket requests, sponsorships and are able to leverage that if local TV/radio contracts are up in the air. With the Twins not making it into even playoff contention for the second straight season, undoubtedly season ticket sales and sponsorship requests are down. The Tigers can plan for additional revenues whereas the Twins will likely brace for some fallout.

    The biggest difference maker between the two markets is the size of the TV contracts: The Tigers get an estimated $50M per season from their Fox Sports affiliate while the Twins are getting $29M per season.



    So, rather than having an operating loss as described above, the Tigers have somewhere closer to a $60 million profit thanks to the playoffs and broadcast rights. The Twins, meanwhile, could have somewhere in the ballpark of $39 million – a difference of $21 million in favor of the Tigers. What’s more, both teams, starting in 2014, will receive $50 million from the MLB central fund because of the new television contracts with ESPN and TBS. This added bonus certainly is taken into consideration when teams and agents are projecting long-term contracts.

    In the end, the Tigers could be poised to spend roughly $110 million (with some operating expenses removed) in 2014 while the Twins will be trying to compete with $89 million (with operating costs and what is certain to be a decline in ticket/stadium-based revenue).

    While it is not at the level as Detroit, the Twins still have plenty of money to spend for 2013 (particularly when you consider how much they have dropped off their payroll from the 2012 season) so they should not be crying poor. Sure, the ownership may be pocketing this additional funds – and that’s their prerogative – but, based on my outsider calculations, there appears to be plenty of revenue to add a few of the game’s top free agents…if they wanted to.
    This article was originally published in blog: Do the Tigers really have that much more money than the Twins? started by Parker Hageman
    Comments 64 Comments
    1. Road Grays's Avatar
      Road Grays -
      The only thing Twins fans have right now is a shiny new ballpark and the pleasure of watching Joe Mauer compete for batting titles. Both of those things are awesome. But unless that is all we need to be satisfied as supporters of this club, then this organization needs to take drastic action. We are in a terrible division and we haven't even been close to competitive for two years. We have no choice but to blow it up and attempt to restock. Pathetic attempts at remaining competitive, while we are in fact circling the drain, wreck my head. I will take very little pleasure in watching the remaining years of Joe Mauer's prime if it is wasted by a team that thinks Jason Marquis and Joel Zumaya are the way forward.

      BUT, I have very little faith in ownership taking any kind of bold action to move the franchise in a different direction or in their general willingness to win. The ballpark will continue printing large piles of money for the Pohlads, and it will be business as usual for them despite how much the team's core fans may want to watch compelling baseball played there.

      Which sucks, because idiot that I am, I really like this ****ing team.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      I seriously could care less about payroll... and I think its flat out crazy to assume that the amount of money spent is some sort of proof that a team wants it more.

      The Tigers and Twins are simply in different places right now. After reaching the WS and a pitching staff of Verlander, Scherzer, Fister. The Tigers would be idiots to not go after someone like Hunter in consideration of the squad they have returning. This puts the Tigers in one boat and the Twins are clearly in a other boat.

      Someday(hopefully soon but maybe not) the tables will turn and somebody on a Tigers chat board will be saying the same about the Twins.

      Oh come on. Now you're just being ridiculous. Posting logical arguments on a message board. What's wrong with you!?
      This is his wife, he handed the iPad to me and asked me to answer the question what's wrong with him. He spends too much time on this website. He doesn't eat any vegetables unless I personally put it on a plate next to some meat. He doesn't drink enough water. He watches television and listens to music too loud. He likes Led Zeppelin, Tragically Hip and Neil Young and he makes me try to feel it. He snores and he only covers his mouth when he sneezes occasionally. He doesn't know how to fix his car or mine, He puts off little projects like replacing a door handle for 6 months. He mows the lawn in a square instead of lines and he waits until the grass is tall enough to hide the cat. He doesn't hang up the towel after he showers and he doesn't care if he uses my towel or our sons. He leaves the refrigerator open while he takes a swig of orange juice straight out of the bottle. He forgets to say thank you and forgets major dates like Birthdays, our Anniversary and Christmas. When he does shop for gifts he gets weird things like globes and welcome mats that say strange things. I got to get going because I actually have things to do in the morning. Hope everyone has a great day.
    1. powrwrap's Avatar
      powrwrap -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      Why are the Twins local TV revenues so low compared with the Tigers and a lot of other teams? Don't they have a fairly big territory? Would a better broadcast team help?
      Detroit is a bigger media market with 1.3 million more potential viewers. Therefore they are able to get more money for their TV contract.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      LOL, thank you Mrs. Riverbrian for the insight!
    1. StormJH1's Avatar
      StormJH1 -
      Mrs. Riverbrian's post was EPIC, except if I let my wife answer like that for me, she'd either go on WAY too long with super embarrassing stuff, or just say something like "you spend too much time on dumb internet forums".

      As for the original question, I have some perspective on this as a native Detroiter (22 years) who is now a proud Minnesota resident and Twins fan (last 10 years). While it's natural to become frustrated by the Detroit Tigers and their spending at times, you need to keep in mind that few teams are like the Tigers, and few owners (maybe none are like Mike Illitch). As any Detroit Red Wings fan will tell you, Illitch is the definition of a "fan owner". While he has other successful businesses (Little Caesar's Pizza, etc.), he doesn't own sports teams as "investments", he owns them because he loves sports and understands how a good sports team can become a part of an identity (especially a troubled identity like that of "Detroit").

      While it would nice if the Pohlads and other owners were like Illitch, expecting them to be like that is extremely unfair, since few owners are. Illitch is also in mid-80's and a lot of people have noticed he appears to be in declining health. He's made the Red Wings Stanley Cup champions 4 times and appeared in 6 Finals. There's a sense that he knows the end might be near and he wants to see the Tigers to succeed in the same way before that time comes. If there's even a kernel of truth to that, it could help to explain signings like Fielder and Hunter that are great in the short-term, but don't make much long-term baseball sense.

      Also, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski was the Marlins GM during their first buying spree and subsequent sell-off in '97. It's pretty evident he has a special relationship with the Marlins that gave him in a "in" on deals for Miguel Cabrera and Anibal Sanchez, who obviously made a huge impact on that team.

      The fact is that the Twins have "enough" payroll to succeed, whether you like it or not. Teams like the Giants and Cardinals won World Series with payrolls comparable to what we trotted out in 2010 and 2011. They were not "one free agent away" from winning they AL this season - they were fundamentally flawed as a roster, and that's on Bill Smith and Terry Ryan.
    1. savvyspy's Avatar
      savvyspy -
      Its not just money which the Twins refuse to commit to on a consistent basis to be a championship team but the lack of talent evaluation to make what money they do spend pay off.

      All you need to know about this is Miguel Cabrera made $2 million LESS than Joe Mauer. Cabrera only hit 13 points higher, hit 34 more HRs, and knocked in over 50 more runs. Prince Fielder makes the same as Mauer hits about the same for average and pitches in 20 more HRs and about 25 more RBIs.

      Until the Twins stop having $37 million tied up in Mauer and Morneau, who combined to only hit 29 HR (less than either Fielder or Cabrera) and knock in 162 runs it doesn't matter what the budget is. Neither Mauer or Morneau make this team better whether they play or don't yet 40% of the payroll is tied to these guys. That makes no sense.

      I mean this front office gave Nick Blackburn $5 million and he's the worst starting picher in 25 years.

      The Tigers win because their front office knows what it takes to win. You need an ace at the top of the order and 2 big bats in the middle of the lineup and you build around that foundation. The Twins have made decades of excuses why they won't trade or sign for an ace or why they always draft starters that scouts say have #4 starter ceilings. The Tigers draft well and they spend on things that win you games, dominate pitching and big bats. The Twins spend money on a decent defensive catcher who hits a ton of singles and 40% of the rotation demands a "personal catcher" that's not him and $6 million set up guys that the manager likes not because he pitches well but will "take the ball" when he asks.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      LOL, thank you Mrs. Riverbrian for the insight!
      Ain't she sweet... I just can't understand how "Down by the River" doesn't do the trick for her.
    1. LastOnePicked's Avatar
      LastOnePicked -
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      Its not just money which the Twins refuse to commit to on a consistent basis to be a championship team but the lack of talent evaluation to make what money they do spend pay off.
      Yes. We have enough evidence of this already: Gardy's Spring Training 2011 assertion that Nishioka would be a Gold Glove contender, TR's claim that Jason Marquis was a strike-throwing innings eater and on and on. We're not just a few pitchers away from contention folks; we're an entire organizational culture away from contention. It no longer matters what will happen in a future season on the field -- it matters what will happen with ownership and management.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by LastOnePicked View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      Its not just money which the Twins refuse to commit to on a consistent basis to be a championship team but the lack of talent evaluation to make what money they do spend pay off.
      Yes. We have enough evidence of this already: Gardy's Spring Training 2011 assertion that Nishioka would be a Gold Glove contender, TR's claim that Jason Marquis was a strike-throwing innings eater and on and on. We're not just a few pitchers away from contention folks; we're an entire organizational culture away from contention. It no longer matters what will happen in a future season on the field -- it matters what will happen with ownership and management.
      +1
      Ryan was fine as a GM for a bad team, with low payroll, that considered contraction a superior option to reinvestment. He trolls the garage sales, donation centers and the dumpsters in hopes to plug a hole or two--and justify his employment. The Twins are no longer viewing contraction, but clearly there have been some poor contracts and those must be "worked-out". I imagine all other GM candidates start with "I need complete control of all staff and a much larger operating budget..." and then he is "politely" told to leave--so the same management team simply changes chairs. Soon, the "bad" contracts will have been removed (except Mauer's--but he is a special case). When will ownership change philosophy?--IDK. But probably after attendence drops to ~1MM paid attendance per season.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      Why are the Twins local TV revenues so low compared with the Tigers and a lot of other teams? Don't they have a fairly big territory? Would a better broadcast team help?
      Per capita the Twins get very good ratings, so a new broadcast team wouldn't help. The problem is the market size is pretty damn small, compared to the majority of other teams, for instance Detroit territory has significantly more people.
      Yes Twins territory is large in size, but Iowa, South Dakota etc are very sparesly populated, and even Minneapolis pales compared to most other cities.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      Why are the Twins local TV revenues so low compared with the Tigers and a lot of other teams? Don't they have a fairly big territory? Would a better broadcast team help?
      Per capita the Twins get very good ratings, so a new broadcast team wouldn't help. The problem is the market size is pretty damn small, compared to the majority of other teams, for instance Detroit territory has significantly more people.
      Yes Twins territory is large in size, but Iowa, South Dakota etc are very sparesly populated, and even Minneapolis pales compared to most other cities.
      A few years ago the Twins did attempt to establish their own TV station to broadcast the games from, but were blocked from obtaining a channel.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Phil Mackey had a pretty good column on local TV revenues: http://m.1500espn.com/pages/sportswire.php?sID=3956

      Its not just market size but also number of households with cable/satellite, etc.

      I've yet to see an article about how the market area outside the TC metro plays into the whole equation. I would guess satellite/cable subscriptions are higher in outlying areas (I know they are where I live) but the number of households is much sparser. And then you have the whole question of the state of Iowa being included in the TV "market" of 6 different teams -- seems to me that Iowa probably doesn't add to any teams market base.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      Why are the Twins local TV revenues so low compared with the Tigers and a lot of other teams? Don't they have a fairly big territory? Would a better broadcast team help?
      Per capita the Twins get very good ratings, so a new broadcast team wouldn't help. The problem is the market size is pretty damn small, compared to the majority of other teams, for instance Detroit territory has significantly more people.
      Yes Twins territory is large in size, but Iowa, South Dakota etc are very sparesly populated, and even Minneapolis pales compared to most other cities.
      Thanks for clearing this up for me.
    1. Teddy's Avatar
      Teddy -
      I guess the banking industry doesn't pay as well as the crappy pizza industry.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Teams run in cycles. It's pretty simple - The Twins got old and they had terrible injury luck the last two seasons. I know that everyone is frustrated by the losing but 120+M teams filled with 30+ yr old players isn't how you rebuild a team. If the Twins hadn't lost pretty much their entire starting rotation to injuries/ineffectiveness they would be winning and the payroll would be in the 110-120M range.
    1. StormJH1's Avatar
      StormJH1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by savvyspy View Post
      Its not just money which the Twins refuse to commit to on a consistent basis to be a championship team but the lack of talent evaluation to make what money they do spend pay off.

      All you need to know about this is Miguel Cabrera made $2 million LESS than Joe Mauer. Cabrera only hit 13 points higher, hit 34 more HRs, and knocked in over 50 more runs. Prince Fielder makes the same as Mauer hits about the same for average and pitches in 20 more HRs and about 25 more RBIs.

      Until the Twins stop having $37 million tied up in Mauer and Morneau, who combined to only hit 29 HR (less than either Fielder or Cabrera) and knock in 162 runs it doesn't matter what the budget is. Neither Mauer or Morneau make this team better whether they play or don't yet 40% of the payroll is tied to these guys. That makes no sense.

      I mean this front office gave Nick Blackburn $5 million and he's the worst starting picher in 25 years.

      The Tigers win because their front office knows what it takes to win. You need an ace at the top of the order and 2 big bats in the middle of the lineup and you build around that foundation. The Twins have made decades of excuses why they won't trade or sign for an ace or why they always draft starters that scouts say have #4 starter ceilings. The Tigers draft well and they spend on things that win you games, dominate pitching and big bats. The Twins spend money on a decent defensive catcher who hits a ton of singles and 40% of the rotation demands a "personal catcher" that's not him and $6 million set up guys that the manager likes not because he pitches well but will "take the ball" when he asks.
      Partially true. People also forget that the Tigers do things like sign Dontrelle Willis to 3 years, $29 million, then watched it blow up on a Hideki Irabu-like level of disaster. Of course, the Mauer vs. Cabrera portion of your rant is absolutely true - Mauer was essentially paid for having a single "Cabrera lite" season under the expectation he could continue doing that for 10 more years AND keep playing catcher. Still, it's not like can really blame Mauer for not being Miguel Cabrera, because nobody else is either, not even some other guys making $20 million. Also, the Tigers have spent a lot of money (on FA's or option years to retain players) for guys that end up losing playing time to more defensively-oriented rookies. Guys like Magglio Ordonez or Johnny Damon. But they usually do so with short-term deals, so it's tough to really find too much fault with it.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Ain't she sweet... I just can't understand how "Down by the River" doesn't do the trick for her.
      Try stupid girl, or, a man needs a maid.
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      Ain't she sweet... I just can't understand how "Down by the River" doesn't do the trick for her.
      Try stupid girl, or, a man needs a maid.
      I'd try "Locked in the Trunk of a Car" or " She Didn't Know" by the Hip, solid.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      I'd tried them all. She just isn't going to put down the Adele.

      Persoanlly... Man needs a Maid off Harvest... Absolutely... Stupid Girl? If I have Zuma... I gotta do Cortez.

      Locked in the Trunk of a Car is my favorite Hip Tune... Absolutely... However She didnt know doesnt dp it for me...if I have Up to Here in my hand. Trickle Down is so Rolling Stonesy... That would be my track.

      Actually I'd want Inevitability of Death off Day for Night or I'd want "up to here" to turn into Road Apples which is a batter album and I'd break out the three Pistols or Little Bones.

      Zeppelin... You can't top Since I've been loving you.

      For everyone else On Twins Daily... Jump in or Just talk about baseball around us... lol...
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      I'd tried them all. She just isn't going to put down the Adele.

      Persoanlly... Man needs a Maid off Harvest... Absolutely... Stupid Girl? If I have Zuma... I gotta do Cortez.

      Locked in the Trunk of a Car is my favorite Hip Tune... Absolutely... However She didnt know doesnt dp it for me...if I have Up to Here in my hand. Trickle Down is so Rolling Stonesy... That would be my track.

      Actually I'd want Inevitability of Death off Day for Night or I'd want "up to here" to turn into Road Apples which is a batter album and I'd break out the three Pistols or Little Bones.

      Zeppelin... You can't top Since I've been loving you.

      For everyone else On Twins Daily... Jump in or Just talk about baseball around us... lol...
      Cowgirl In The Sand (10 minute guitar intro, just to mess with you)
      Tell Me Why
      Cortez The Killer
      Helpless
      Walk On
      Comes a Time

      Actually just get Decade, that'll get you through the mid-seventies at least.

      Three Pistols
      Little Bones
      New Orleans is Sinking
      On The Verge
      50 Mission Cap (songs about Bill Barilko, genius)
      Nautical Disaster

      This could go on for days.

      Adele? Dude, you're killing me
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