Derek Jeter: the face of playoff baseball

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Your Yankee mileage may vary, but there’s no escaping the financial realities of it all:

Of the seven billboards around Atlanta promoting the start of the playoffs, Jeter, the All-Star shortstop who has been with the Yankees since 1995, is on five of them. Around the country, TBS has similar billboards featuring St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin. Jeter is on 60 percent of them.

The Yankees are crucial to getting casual viewers to tune into playoff games in the early rounds, [TBS President David Levy] said . . .  “It’s essential for them to get higher ratings at those events to get the viewership and advertising revenue they want,” [sports consultant Marc Ganis] said. “And no team generates the interest and the eyeballs, particularly in the playoffs, that the Yankees do.”

Russell Martin?  Really?  That’s the best they could do for L.A.?

Anyway, the larger point — explained in extensive financial and television ratings detail in the linked article — remains: the Yankees draw eyes, and eyes draw dollars.  It’s still worth discussing whether the networks and media at large focus too much on the big city east coast teams, but any such conversation that doesn’t take this business reality into account first isn’t an informed conversation.