The Cardinals are the peoples team
(KPLR) – In Wednesday’s Jacology, Charles Jaco looks at why the Cardinals are, literally, the people’s team.
Congratulations, Cardinals fans. This is your team. I don’t mean that you’re literally one of the owners, although it would be swell to be served 18 year old scotch in an owner’s box behind home plate. I mean that you paid for this team. And it’s the fans who keep the St. Louis Cardinals juggernaut rolling.
Consider the Red Sox have a payroll of around $145 million dollars. And the Red Sox pay for most of that with their radio and TV contracts. The Red Sox broadcast rights are worth somewhere between $80 and $100 million dollars a year. That’s because Boston is the number 7 TV market, a little more than twice the size of St. Louis. If you roll in cities like Hartford and Providence where the Red Sox are huge, and their TV contract gives advertisers around three per-cent of the total U.S. television audience.
The Cardinals have a payroll of around $114 million. But their radio and TV rights are only worth around 20 million a year. That’s because St. Louis is the number 21 TV market, giving advertisers around one percent of the total U.S. television audience. But while the vast majority of the Red Sox payroll is covered by broadcast fees, the vast majority of the Cardinals payroll is covered by fans buying tickets and hot dogs and ball caps. And if it weren’t for the over three million fans who pack Busch each year, the Cardinals might have a middle market payroll and a middle market team, more like Tampa Bay or Kansas City.
So take a bow, cards fans. You’re paying your mortgage and car payment and taxes and utility bills. And you still have enough money left over to pay for fielding one of the best teams in Major League Baseball. Maybe the best team. The Red Sox? They’re powered by TV money. The Cardinals? Ah, that’s your money.
I’m Charles Jaco, and that’s Jacology.