Sandy Alderson expects the team's payroll to increase with on-field success, but only if they're supported by fans at the gate, he told a group of season-ticket holders at Citi Field late Thursday.
Well, that's one way to go about it...
The Mets are in a tough spot, because they play in a market that now requires extra sizzle for sales, regardless of wins and losses. This was not always the case. I think they'd like to assume winning cures all, and that can be true. But, look at the Yankees, who won 85 games and contended for a playoff spot, yet had revenue, attendance and ratings all dip, presumably because of the lack of name talent in pinstripes. In other words, winning is great, but it does not guarantee support. I do believe Mets fans are more inclined to support a no-name winner, but stars can help create buzz, advanced ticket sales and keep people entertained and hopeful at a time when both are fleeting.
I was under the impression the team had been spending relative to revenue consistently over the last decade, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Here's a look at how player expenses (including salary, benefits and bonuses) compare as a percentage of revenue, based on estimates from an annual report published by Forbes...
Last year was a 12-year low, according to Forbes, with an overall downward trend dating back to 2004.
In Alderson's defense, it seems that when the team started playing better and earning more money during the last decade, Ownership's spending as a percentage of revenue did go up in the years that followed. But, as is usually the case with the team's history, that success was fleeting and eventually gave way to yet another 'rebuilding phase.'
Alderson's goal with the Mets is to build a foundation of talent (particularly pitching), along with David Wright, that can hopefully create a decade-long run of consistent success (or longer). In the event this happens, and they sell more tickets, the above chart indicates payroll should go up, which can hopefully help propel the team even further than their homegrown talent is capable of doing...