$330 million, even spread over 13 years, is a lot of dough. That’s what the Phillies committed to Bryce Harper last week. Harper was officially introduced in his new uniform on Saturday. Already, the Phillies are making progress on earning that money back.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, prior to the Harper announcement, the Phillies had sold about 200,000 more tickets the same time last year. After the Harper announcement, the Phillies sold about 100,000 tickets. NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury followed up, adding that the Phillies an additional 80,000 tickets on Saturday. Those tickets will come with ancillary revenues, of course, as almost all of those fans will spend even more money at the ballpark for parking, merchandise at the team store, as well as food and drinks from concession stands. They may even buy more tickets.
Fanatics, an online retailer that sells sports apparel, announced on Sunday that Harper’s Phillies jersey is the no. 1 selling jersey “of all-time in any sport for any player during the first 24 hours of a launch.” Harper’s Phillies jerseys are going for $119.99 on the club’s official website, so one can imagine the kind of revenues that are coming in right now.
For all the consternation about the length and total value of the Harper contract, its starting off on quite the right foot for the Phillies and Harper. It turns out that spending money on free agents can be a good thing.