Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Building a New Baseball Stadium: Is It Worth It?

Building a New Baseball Stadium: Is It Worth It?

This baseball season saw the opening of the new Marlins Park in Miami. The ballpark is fitted with a state-of-the-art retractable roof, a pool behind the left field wall, and host the closest seating to the field of any park in major league baseball. This begs the question.... Is it worth is? Will the Marlins see enough fans in the stadium to decide that their investment was worth while? The Marlins are one of many teams to have built new stadiums recently. Some of the others include the opening of Nationals Park in 2008 and the opening of Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in 2009. 

We will look at these four stadiums to see if it is worth it.

Marlins Park

Not only did the Marlins build a new stadium, they were renamed the Miami Marlins from the old Florida Marlins. This name and appearance change was all in an effort to rebrand the team. The new stadium cost $515 million. Although this seems like a lot, it is quite cheap as opposed to other new stadiums that have been built. Of the $515 million it cost to build the stadium, the Marlins are responsible for $155 million for the stadium, the construction cost overrun, and $100 million to the city for parking. Although the cost are reasonable compared to the market, if fans do not show up, it would not have been worth while to build the stadium. The total capacity of Marlins Park is 37,442 which is the least in the MLB. In the first year of the new stadium, the Marlins rank 14th in MLB in attendance with an average of 28,713 a game.

Nationals Park

Nationals Park opened for play in 2008. The new stadium was built to hold 44,685. The stadium cost $693 million to build. Attendance was an issue in Washington and the team thought the new stadium would be a good start for more fans to attend the games. Unfortunately for the Nationals after the change of venues, fans did not start pouring in. Poor play on the field also contributed to poor attendance. With the Nationals playing better baseball will more fans show up in Washington? This is the question that currently faces Nationals management. Another question that Nationals management must consider is whether or not the building of Nationals Park was worth it.

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium saw its first pitch in the 2009 season. Attendance was far from a problem when the Yankees decided to make the move to a new stadium. In the years prior and the years following the opening of the new Yankee Stadium attendance for the Yankees is always at the top or near the top of MLB. The cost to build the new Yankee stadium was nearly double that of the cost to build Marlins Park at $1.1 billion. The team value of the Yankees puts them in a position to spend the enormous amount of money that they did for a new stadium. Does having the money to build a new stadium make the price worth while? This was a question that Yankees's management was faced with.

Citi Field

Citi Field was opened in 2009. The $850 million stadium has the capacity to hold 45,000 fans. The Mets were previously playing in Shea Stadium. The mets played in Shea for 44 years before moving to Citi Field. Shea was known around the league for being a below average facility. Citi Field is know for just thesopposite, a nice new facility. Although Citi Field is more fitting for the flashy New York crowd, was the very expensive stadium worth purchasing?

Final Thought

My final thought will go through the four MLB stadiums that were recently built and decide "Is it worth it?"

Marlins Park- Marlins Park was worth it. The Marlins were able to build one of the cheapest parks while creating new and innovative ideas. The Marlins went from 28th in attendance in 2011 to 14th in attendance in 2012. It was a good idea to make the stadium a smaller size.

Nationals Park- Nationals Park was not worth it. Although the Nationals were in real need for a new park, they should have done it more cost effective. The Nationals  reason for move was that the old stadium was not suited for baseball, this reason makes the move justified. Although the move is justified, the Nationals needed to build a stadium that was smaller and save money. The Marlins have still been in the bottom third of the league in attendance since the new stadium has been in use. For these reasons Nationals Park was not worth it.

Yankee Stadium- Yankee Stadium was worth it. The old Yankee Stadium was played in for 85 years. A storied franchise such as the Yankees needed a new home. The history of the stadium made it a special place to play for the players, but eventually it was necessary to build a new home for MLB's most notable franchise.

Citi Field- Citi Field was not worth it. It is easy to say looking back at the Mets financial troubles that spending so much money on a new stadium was not worth it. My view is that Shea Stadium which was only 44 years old could have been fixed up to provide a better viewing experience.  

The next time a team goes to build a new stadium they should really think...... Is It Worth It?

Drew Rosen
Follow @dmrosen7
Statistics from Forbes.com and ESPN.com


  1. Saying that Shea Stadium was a "below average" facility is the nicest way I've ever heard someone describe that dump.