For 10 days, the Baltimore Orioles have not had any setbacks in the loss column.
But they have had losses.
Assuming they would have averaged 25,000 fans per date, the Orioles are losing an estimated $103,937 for each game they do not play on a 10-game homestand, most of which has already been destroyed by the baseball strike. Baltimore was scheduled to entertain Texas for three games (Tuesday through Thursday), Seattle for three games (Friday through today) and Milwaukee for four games (Monday through Thursday).
Tim Geraghty, the Orioles' ticket manager, had projected attendances ranging from 20,000 to 35,000 per game. The price of an average ticket to an Oriole game at Memorial Stadium is $4.50.Using a crowd of 25,000 as the standard, the Orioles will lose an estimated $112,500 per game in ticket sales.
The Orioles would fill about 1,500 parking spots priced at $2.50 each and another 700 spots for $1.50 each on an average evening, according to Bob Elwood, director of business affairs.When that lot is filled, the Orioles take in $4,800, of which 20 percent goes to the city. The Orioles, therefore, are losing approximately $3,840 per game in parking sales.
The average Oriole customer spends about $2.50 on concessions and souvenirs, according to one club official. The Orioles earn one-third of these sales; thus, on an average night, they earn $20,750 in concession and souvenir sales.
In its March 2 edition, Broadcast Magazine estimated that the Orioles would earn $1,050,000 in revenue from their overall television and radio operations this season. Using this estimate on the 162-game scale, the Orioles are losing approximately $6,481 in television and radio rights.
The total losses are an estimated $143,571. This amount could be lessened Wednesday (should the strike not be solved by then), when the owners' $50 million strike insurance fund will begin to bring benefits. The fund will provide $100,000 per game for each game lost in the strike. The owners' contingency fund, a separate entity, might provide another $575,000 to each major league team.
But there will be gains for the owners in this strike. The primary source of relief for the Baltimore owners will be savings from the wages of the players and those of the 500 or so part-timers who man the concessions and perform other duties at Memorial Stadium.
The average major league baseball player earns approximately $170,000 per year with the spectrum extending from Dave Winfield's estimated $1.5 million per year contract (deferred payments, incentives and all) to the $32,500 minimum wage.
Using the $170,000 standard for the 25 players on the Baltimore roster, the Oriole management will save about $1,049 per game per player, or $26,234 per game.
The Orioles will also save an estimated $13,400 per game by laying off some 500 part-time employees. This total is attained using the federal minimum wage of $3.35 and incorporating it into an eight-hour workday. According to General Manager Hank Peters the Orioles hire from 200 to 1000 part-time employees on any given game day, depending on the expected crowd. (The 500 figure was selected as a numerical compromise and the minimum wage was selected for purposes of estimation.)
The players have nothing to offset their loss salaries.
"We don't have strike insurance. We are losing money," said Doug DeCinces, the Orioles' third baseman and the American League player representative. "The ballplayers and the fans are getting slapped in the face by all of this."
Joseph Hamper, the Baltimore's vice president in charge of finance, compared figures from last year -- when the Orioles made an estimated profit of $1.5 million -- to this year or this partial year.
"The cost from last year has gone up for us," Hamper said. "Not just inflation, but we signed quite a few players over the past year." (The actual number is nine: Eddie Murray, Tippy Martinez, Scott McGregor, Jim Palmer, Terry Crowley, DeCinces, Rich Dauer, Ken Singleton and free agents Jose Morales and Jim Dwyer.)