Monday, July 31, 2017

Clubhouse questions could effect bottom line for Red Sox

By Zachary Baru

July 2017 has been full of the wrong type of attention for the Red Sox when it comes to off-the-field news.  Unfortunately for Boston's long-loved baseball club, one major trait has come into question in recent weeks - the character inside the clubhouse.

Is this really a serious issue?  When it comes to the bottom line, it certainly is.  While in the long run this whole controversy could simply be just a slight drop in the popularity of the team, and potentially team revenues, the real issue at hand here is that any potential drop in popularity or revenues warrants concern.

But how could public concerns over the "character"of members of the organization translate to a potential drop in revenue?  The short-term answer is simple: ratings.  The more the public has a negative opinion of the internal makeup of the organization, the more likely it will be that fans will elect not to watch the games, or at least until the issue is dealt with internally, thus pleasing the fans.

Will all of this blow over?  More than likely.  But for now, this is a concern for fans, and should be a concern for the front office as well.  Ratings are incredibly important in sports, and nothing in sports can be a better barometer for a teams' popularity.  Which leads to the long-term affect of all of this mess - ticket sales.

Unlike ratings, ticket sales is not always an exact barometer of a teams' popularity.  Fans can obviously buy tickets far in advance and feel they need to use them, or simply be given tickets as a gift from friends or from businesses looking to entertain clients, potential clients or staff.  Long-term, this wave of concern from fans could result in lower attendances, meaning potentially less concession, merchandise, parking and other revenues.  In other words, make sure fans are happy, because professional sports is an industry full of domino effects.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, they are part of a market where fan scrutiny is the very essence that makes the market so successful for sports teams.  It is this passion that brings Boston teams off-the-field success year after year.   So while Red Sox fans may be upset over the character within the clubhouse, it is this criticism that continuously makes for a unique, and successful market.

Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru and reached at

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