The Akron Beacon-Journal reports that the Cleveland Indians are on pace to draw around 1.16 million people this year. The problem: The Indians’ front office made a budget that assumed attendance of
Which was actually a conservative assumption, as the team drew 1.766 million last year. A year that was profoundly disappointing and saw the team sell off two if its marquee players — Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez — in mid-season. I’m no economic expert, but assuming a 250K drop in gate was probably pretty smart. But obviously it’s been way worse than that, and the Indians look poised to finish in the red for a second year in row. ”Even with revenue sharing, we won’t break even,” said the team’s V.P. of business operations.
Last year the Tribe dumped salary to try and minimize the losses. Such a move will be much harder this year as two of the biggest contracts — Travis Hafner and Kerry Wood — look to be all but untradeable right now. Grady Sizemore is hurt, but even then, he’s only owed a reasonable $5.6 million this year (though taking the $16.5 million total he’s owed for 2011 and 2012, buyout included, off the books could help). Jake Westbrook is owed $10 million or so. He might be moveable.
But that’s just working around the edges. No matter what happens, it appears that Cleveland is going to continue to hemorrhage money for the time being.