Peter Gammons, in his latest blog entry, summarizes the perceived problem of inequality in baseball well:
"It doesn't matter how much luxury tax the Yankees pay or how much Steinbrenner money goes to Kansas City, Minnesota or Tampa Bay. Hank Steinbrenner is going to use his AmEx to win. He gets a year's grace from some of the taxation because of the new stadium that opens in 2009, but if you're out there in a small market, how scary is this winter, with the realization that the Yankees and Mets are both about to open new revenue-cow ballparks?"
(Peter Gammons, "The Rich Get Richer," http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=gammons_peter subscription required, Accessed 1 December 2007)
Gammons and others argue that teams in the largest markets, defined by them as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York have an inherent advantage. Let's look at some data to see how big these markets are relative to others.
The Baseball Almanac has already done an analysis based on 2000 Census Data (Al Streit, "Baseball Markets," Baseball Almanac, http://www.baseball-almanac.com/articles/baseball_markets.shtml , Accessed 1 December 2007)
Unsurprisingly, New York and Los Angeles are far and away the largest markets, followed by:
Chicago, Baltimore/Washington, Oakland/San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, and Texas (presumably Dallas/Fort Worth).
First, let's update Streit's data with the 2006 population estimates (only MLB markets included):
|Rank||Combined Statistical Area||2006 Population Estimate|
|1||New York (Mets, Yankees)||21976224|
|2||Los Angeles (Angels, Dodgers)||17775984|
|3||Chicago (Cubs, White Sox)||9725317|
|4||Baltimore/Washington (Nationals, Orioles)||8211213|
|5||Boston (Red Sox)||7465634|
|6||Oakland/San Francisco (Athletics, Giants)||7228948|
|8||Dallas-Ft. Worth (Rangers)||6359758|
|13||Toronto (Blue Jays)||51131491|
|16||Minneapolis/St. Paul (Twins)||3502891|
|17||San Diego (Padres)||2941454*|
|20||St. Louis (Cardinals)||2858549|
|21||Tampa Bay (Rays)||2697731*|
|24||Kansas City (Royals)||2034796|
*No Combined Statistical Area defined, so Metropolitan Statistical Area used
1. Census Metropolitan Area data used from Statistics Canada
Some initial observations:
1. There is a massive disparity in market size among the top 8 teams and between the top 8 and other 22 teams.
2. Boston is the largest single team market
3. The Minnesota Twins could best be described as a mid-market team.
I thought it might be useful to divide the dual markets in half so that I could look at a team by team listing. This is obviously very rough, though of course, the home markets themselves are rough (just look at the reach of the Braves, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Yankees). Then, I used the team payroll data from (CBS Sportsline, "MLB Salaries," Accessed 1 December 2007), and divided the amount spent by the number of people in the home market. The results are below:
|2||Kansas City Royals||2034796||67116500||32.98439|
|4||St. Louis Cardinals||2858549||90286823||31.58484|
|6||San Francisco Giants||3614474||90219056||24.96049|
|8||Chicago White Sox||4862658.5||108671833||22.34823|
|13||San Diego Padres||2941454||58110567||19.75573|
|14||Boston Red Sox||7465634||143026214||19.15795|
|17||New York Yankees||10988112||189639045||17.25856|
|18||Toronto Blue Jays||5113149||81942800||16.02590|
|24||Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||8887992||109251333||12.29202|
|25||Los Angeles Dodgers||8887992||108454524||12.20237|
|27||New York Mets||10988112||115231663||10.48694|
|29||Tampa Bay Rays||2697731||24123500||8.94214|
Of course, the value of this data is limited, since it doesn't take into account revenue sharing. My next post will attempt to correlate market/payroll data with revenue sharing. In the meantime, I hope this provides some food for thought.