The New York Mets offseason can be characterized as a financial mess and ownership is in deep trouble. In January ownership announced that they were seeking a buyer for 25 percent of the club after a $1 billion lawsuit in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme and in February the organization received a loan for a reported $25 million from Major League Baseball.
Today news surfaced from The New York Times that the organization suffered a $50 million loss last season -- and that they are projected for another $50 million hit this season. This report was released by the Times based on two people who were briefed on the team's finances.
The year-to-year decline in revenue was the largest "for any major league team in recent years," according to the Times. The Florida Marlins, in 1998, suffered a similar fortune when ownerership gutted the team a year after the World Series.
In 2010, 600,00 less fans showed up to the ballpark to watch the Mets, who finished fourth with a 79-83 record. In a brand new stadium, in a city with passionate fans that don't mind spending money, this should be a telling sign to Sandy Alderson and ownership: fans want a winner -- or at least a commitment to it. The Metropolitans have not made the playoffs since 2006 and have had a series of devastating late-season blows in the interim. Despite one of the game's top payrolls in this timeframe, New York has had losing records in two straight campaigns -- and has made it past the regular season in only three of the past 12 seasons.
The team released the following statement, as reported by MLB.com, though they did not validate the Times' report:
"The team has underperformed on the field and, as a result, our attendance and revenues understandably have decreased. Thus far, we are slightly ahead of year-to-date comparable ticket sales as we look forward to the start of the 2011 season."
The Mets opened up a Citifield in 2009, during a time in which they had a revenue of more than $350 million and were forced to pony up $40 million in revenue-sharing money. Despite that, the Times reports, they still lost $10 million.
Even if the upcoming season doesn't seem too promising, there has to be some comfort -- amid this financial turmoil -- that the team will be taking the field in real games in less than one week.