Though Tim Tebow got off to a hot start in his minor league debut with the Single-A Columbia Fireflies, homering in two of his first three games, the former NFL quarterback has not performed all that well. Through 32 games and 127 plate appearances, he is hitting .221/.307/.327 with just the two home runs, 11 RBI, and 16 runs scored.
Tebow playing in a major league game remains a far off fantasy and minor league teams are very thankful for that, actually. As CNBC’s Sarah Whitten reports, Tebow has substantially increased attendance at minor league games, both home and away. Home attendance in Columbia has increased by nearly 40 percent. Road attendance is up between 80 and 120 percent depending on the stadium in question. Citing Baseball America, Whitten notes that Tebow was responsible for $44,200 in additional sales per night at road stadiums.
Tebow may not be hitting, but as long as he keeps bringing fans to the ballpark, the Fireflies will find a spot in the lineup for him. Money talks.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.