With Shutdown Looming, ESPN Measures Stephen Strasburg's Worth By Fans, Revenue

Stephen Strasburg's shutdown. By now, that's all I have to say to illustrate my point. You already know what I'm talking about because it's been beaten like a dead horse and analyzed to the point of nausea.

ESPN, however, has gone a step further. Instead of continuing to harp on how limiting Strasburg will affect the Nationals on the field, business reporter Darren Rovell has found out how it will affect the Nats off it.

According to Rovell, Washington will not see a noticeable decline in revenue upon Strasburg's shutdown. I'm horrible at explaining numbers, so I'll let the expert take care of that:

In the 11 starts that Strasburg has pitched at home this year, the Nationals have drawn a total of 335,513 fans, which equals a per game average of 30,501 fans. In the 57 other home games the Nationals have played (it's actually 58, but no attendance was reported for Aug. 3 game), the team has drawn 1,395,485 fans for an average of 24,482 fans per game. That means that Strasburg is only worth 6,019 fans more per game.

The average Nationals ticket is $30.54, according to Team Marketing Report, which means Strasburg, on average, is worth $183,820 more at the gate per game to the Washington Nationals.

Vince Gennaro, the author of "Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball," who has consulted for several Major League Teams, says each fan is also worth about $7 in food, beverage and merchandise. That would bring Strasburg's per game bump up to $225,953. If Strasburg misses those home starts, he is costing the team about $450,000. The team is also paying him to sit. If he's shut down after Sept. 12, the team will also be paying Strasburg for three regular season weeks to do nothing. The cost of that, based on his $3 million annual salary, is $344,262.

"There is no direct financial incentive for the Nationals to keep pitching Strasburg beyond their imposed limits and into the postseason," Gennaro told ESPN. "The revenue to be gained from attendance, concessions and merchandise is negligible."

As for the playoffs, Gennaro also told Rovell that "there aren't too many scenarios where the Nationals would get any additional dollars from a Strasburg playoff outing."

It's all very interesting and worth a read (or three, in my case, since I suck at math). I found it to be a refreshing look at what is becoming an incredibly annoying situation.

Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

Contact Us