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Citi Field revenues down again in 2012

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Citi Field

For the third straight year revenues were down at Citi Field, as New York Mets ownership struggles to find the right mix between ticket and concession prices.

Newsday obtained the team's revenue statement via FOIA; the statement is a requirement of the bonding deal that funded ballpark construction. In 2012 ballpark revenue for the Mets was $118.6 million, down some $8.3 million from 2011. This doesn't account for all team revenues -- television revenue is separate, for instance -- but you can get a good sense of the team's financial standing with these facts gleaned by the newspaper:

But the new data, obtained by Newsday through Freedom of Information requests, show that at the ballpark, the Mets are still trending downward. The records show that ballpark-related revenue such as premium ticket sales, concessions and parking has declined 43 percent since 2009, the stadium's opening year. This year's reported revenue of $118.6 million as of the end of September was down from $180.4 million in 2009 and $126.9 million in 2011....

The Mets have struggled on the field in recent years and must compete in the biggest U.S. sports market with the New York Yankees, a perennial postseason contender. The Mets' paid attendance for their 81 home games this year was 2,242,803, down from 2,352,596 the previous season. Revenue for Citi Field's 10,635 premium stadium seats, representing about 25 percent of the 42,000-seat stadium, was $44,111,395 this season, down from $50,515,652 in 2011 and well short of their budgeted projection of $56,506,733, the new records show....

The Mets did, however, see an 18 percent increase in concession revenue from a year ago, marking the first increase in that department since the stadium's opening. That, experts said, indicated the Mets must have gotten more fans inside the ballpark at discounted prices, and once there, they spent money.

As we noted, the ballpark revenues make up only a part of the Mets' total financial picture; SportsNet New York brings in a huge chunk of team revenues, as does any proceeds from MLB licensing. Though there was a serious decline, we're not sure the Mets are in any trouble: the team's biggest outlays are for salary and the $43 million payment on Citi Field bonds, and experts think the Mets are more than capable of making the payments: last week debt held by Queens Ballpark Company, the ballpark holding company, was upgraded by Moody's to stable.

Photo by Kwong Yee Cheng, via flicker.com.

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