Friday, July 24, 2009

Padres layoffs

Sad but not surprising that 13 Padres employees outside of baseball operations were laid off. The new CEO, Jeff Moorad, has specific plans for retooling the business side -- including creating new jobs.

I know some of the people who were fired and respect them. The club's poor season on the field is obscuring some good work off it. So far, attendance actually has exceeded what the Padres projected. Last offseason, when I reported that Padres home attendance likely would fall short of 2 million for the first time since 1995, several readers told me I was understating the problem. They told me it would drop below 1.5 million. Give some credit to Padres sales and front-office staff that it likely will not drop that far. At least not this year. My guess, it ends up at about 1.9 million.

As for the baseball front office's future, that's another subject for another day, but I expect Moorad will make some changes there, too, although likely not until after the season. Some decisions there might be deferred until 2010, pending further evaluation.

The big picture here is that the pie is shrinking, at an alarming rate. When the Padres moved into Petco Park, their season-ticket base was about 20,000. Now it's well under 10,000. That's scary. New ballpark. Two division titles. Four winning seasons in a row. But a huge dropoff in season-ticket sales.

Moorad tells me that it's not unusual for season-tickets to decline after the novelty of a new ballpark wears off. True. But I know that CEO Larry Lucchino and his staffers projected about 3 million in home attendance for the several years after the ballpark opened.


  1. Of course season tickets drop after the novelty of a new park wears off. But from what I have seen, it is usually a gradual, small decline. Not cut more than half after 5 years.

    As for the season attendance, I too am surprised it has not dropped more this year.
    At the beginning of the year I would have guessed 1.6- 1.7 for 2009.

    Nice work Tom.

  2. I think that if former CEO Larry Lucchino were still running the club, attendance would actually hover around 3 million. The three elements contributing to a drop off in season tickets are the following: dissipation in the ballpark novelty, a bad team, and a bad economy. Good article Tom, I enjoyed it.