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Why Dodgers' $27-million loss could be only the beginning

August 8, 2011 | 11:13 am

Photo: Fans in attendance in the first inning watch the Los Angeles Dodgers play against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium on June 13, 2011. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire Money, money, money. Oodles and oodles of money.

It’s the story of the Dodgers this season, or maybe has been since Frank and Jamie McCourt first purchased the team in 2004.

It’s what they’ve charged the fans, what they’ve put back, what they’ve taken out, what they want and what they’ve lost.

And as Jim Peltz writes in The Times on Monday, they are losing plenty this season. The drop in attendance is causing them pain in the one place they cherish most -- the wallet. That’s called an effective boycott.

Yet, as bad as the picture is that Peltz paints of their loss of revenue from last season -- a minimum of $27 million -- it may only be the beginning.

His figures are based on the decrease in tickets sold, the only numbers Major League Baseball makes available. It cannot include an accurate picture of revenue lost from no-shows.

Anyone who’s seen a picture of Dodger Stadium this season knows no-shows are significant. Like almost scary. There are not only empty sections, but typically only half the seats are filled throughout the ballpark. Often a couple fans will sit amidst a sea of empty seats.

According to documents in their divorce proceedings, the no-show rate in 2009 was 17.4%, which was not considered abnormal. In 2009 the Dodgers finished in first and advanced to the National League Championship Series.

I don’t think I’m going out on limb here to say no-shows are up dramatically this season. At a minimum, they appear doubled. Many nights, they seem close to 50%. The McCourts claimed in 2009 that they lost an average of $11.74 in revenue per no-show in concession and parking.

If the $11.74 no-show rate was fairly standard, then last season the Dodgers would have had 619,843 no-shows and lost concession and parking revenue would have been $7.3 million.

Now double that for this season.

That would put them down over $34 million this season.

And it’s probably still a minimal figure.

Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economics professor at Smith College, told Peltz: "When people don't go to the ballpark, the Dodgers lose ticket revenue but they also lose concessions revenue and ultimately sponsorship and advertising revenue" along with parking revenue.

So the repercussions will continue to be felt later.

Plus, the loss in ticket revenue is based on the current average drop of 7,902 tickets sold per game. That could easily go up the final two months of the season if the Dodgers continue to play sub-.500 baseball.

More lost revenue, more money gone. Oodles and oodles of money.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Fans in attendance in the first inning watch the Los Angeles Dodgers play against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium on June 13, 2011. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire

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