September 19 Philadelphia Inquirer:
“The Phillies are all grown up at last.
Long an awkward and indecisive baseball juvenile, the franchise’s notoriously pimply complexion has cleared up and, thanks to consistent on-field success, it’s playing with the big boys.
After the expensive late-July deal that landed Roy Oswalt, Sports Illustrated noted that the Phillies had now joined the Red Sox and Yankees as the only teams whose annual business model must be “World Series or Bust.”
And why not? Philadelphia’s off-the-field statistics these last few seasons are as impressive as those they have rung up on it.
The 2010 Phils lead the National League in average attendance (45,000). According to Sports Business Journal, they also have the third-largest average TV audience (212,774, behind only the Yankees and Mets), the third-highest TV rating (7.2, behind only the Cardinals and Twins), and even the sixth-biggest radio audience (159,500).
As a result, they also have baseball’s fourth-highest payroll, $143 million.
But there’s at least one advantage the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets still possess. They each own large chunks of their own regional sports networks.
A regional sports network can translate into a sizable financial edge. While general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insisted again last week that free-agent outfielder Jayson Werth could still return in 2011, that almost certainly won’t happen unless the Phils discover a new pot of gold.
And with their attendance maxed out and most of the Philadelphia area’s eyeballs already glued to their televised games, where can the Phils turn for new revenue?”
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