Sunday, August 5, 2012

Colorado Rockies should take a lesson from the Denver Broncos

The Rockies need an owner who is committed.
Colorado Rockies fans have proven themselves to be loyal. No one denies that at this point.

On Sunday, as the Rockies completed a 1-8 homestand and continued their downward spiral, 28,804 fans paid to watch yet another lackluster performance. They bought tickets, they paid for parking, they bought food and drinks from the concession stand.

The fact that fans continue to pour through the gates has started to make fans turn against each other. Many fans believe that the only one way that they can voice their concern and force change in the front office is to quit buying tickets and make it hurt the Monforts where it hurts the most, their wallets.

It is easy to focus on the number of people who are walking through the gates at Coors Field. However, that line of thinking is misguided. The focus should be on how much money the Monforts are leaving on the table by not putting a consistent winner on the field.

Don't forget, this is the city that owns nearly every attendance record in Major League Baseball. On top of that, fans have shown that they will support a team that is committed to winning. Look right across I-25 from Coors Field. The Denver Broncos have sold out every single game for the past 43 years, and certainly will continue that streak in 2012.

For an example, look no further than Saturday afternoon. The Broncos practiced at Sports Authority Field and saw more than 40,000 fans come to watch. That's right. They came to watch practice. What does that say? It says that Denver is a sports-crazy town. They believe in their teams. They want to see them win. When an owner makes it clear that mediocrity isn't going to be acceptable, fans show up.

Look at the Broncos. Even when they have struggled, fans knew that the would return to contention soon because consistent losing wasn't an option.

When Josh McDaniels struggled, he was fired in the middle of the season, despite having a contract through the next year. When he was fired, no one at Dove Valley made excuses. No one said that his intentions were correct. Everyone said that winning was too important to allow someone who didn't know what they were doing to continue taking the franchise down the wrong road.

Football is a very different sport, but the move rewarded the Broncos quickly. Just over a year after McDaniels was fired, the Broncos clinched the AFC West and won one of the most exciting playoff games in recent history.

That kind of commitment makes fans stick through the bad times. It lets them know that even if the team loses, they are rooting for a winner.

Fans in Colorado are proud of where they live. They want the team that represents them to make them and their home state look good. They want to be able to brag about their teams.

The Rockies may be averaging around 30,000 fans per game, but imagine what Coors Field would look like with a commitment to excellence and not a commitment to excuses. This is a city in which the Rockies could be like San Francisco, where the team is quickly approaching 200 consecutive sellouts. Fans focus on showing the Monforts that they won't show up, but the reality is, the stadium is still missing about 20,000 fans per game.

How much money are the Monforts leaving on the table? At an average of $20 per ticket, just the revenue generated from the tickets would be $400,000 per game. That is just the money from ticket sales alone. It doesn't include the money that would be generated from what those fans purchase at the game. It is probably safe to say that the Rockies are giving up more than $600,000 per game with all of the empty seats at Coors Field.

Any smart business person considers that every time they count their money. They think of ways that they could maximize their revenues. What that means is that the Monforts are so loyal to Dan O'Dowd and his team that they are willing to give up over half a million per night to keep him around.

What that means is that if a few thousand more people decide not to show up at Coors Field, it isn't going to make a difference in the Monfort's mind. Dick Monfort is far more loyal to his friends in the front office than he is to those paying his salary.

What is pathetic about the whole situation is just how much money, and more importantly, loyalty, the Rockies owners are leaving on the table. They could be behind the most supported baseball team in the history of the league. They could take pride in the fact that despite being a medium-market team, the Rockies  were so committed to winning that they draw more fans than any other team in the league consistently.

Rockies fans desperately want to get behind this team. They hold out hope. They continue to go to Coors Field. They want to support the team and believe in them, but they continue to get slapped in the face by the owners in which they are paying their hard-earned money to.

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  1. Your analysis is over-simplified. Yes, they could *gross* another half-a-mil per night, but what would it additionally cost them to field a team that would draw the another 20K fans?

    I don't think much of the Monforts as owners, but I have no doubt they have run the numbers and are right where they want to be, financially.

  2. The marginal revenue would be far above the marginal cost to put another 20k butts in the seats. Say they hire another 20 people. Even at $15/hour for six hours a day, they are only paying $1,800 more/game. Those numbers are GREATLY inflated. They will probably only work 4-5 hours a night and a lot closer to $10/hour. They are part time and seasonal so they won't be paying insurance or anything like that. They are leaving a net of $598,200 on the table from ticket sales. No I don't count the added cost of buying more concession items because those will be offset in concession purchases.