For years the Dallas Cowboys have been known as “America’s Team”. By all rights that title should now be handed over to the Mets since they are a team basically financed by the American people.
I’m no economist but let’s try and break down a few numbers here.
- In 2006, Citigroup signed a 20-year, $400 million contract to name the Mets’ new stadium in Queens Citi Field. By the time construction was complete on the new ballpark Citi had received not one, but two multi-billion dollar loans from the federal government as part of a bailout of the banks. Still Citi refused to back out of the deal even though it was now essentially being footed by taxpayer dollars.
- In 2009 Citi Field opened at a final cost $600 million. Of that, $89.7 million came from capital funds from the city and $74.7 million in rent credits from the state.
- In 2010 the Mets had the fifth highest payroll in all of Major League Baseball at $132,701,445. They finished second to last in their division ahead of only the Nationals whose payroll is less than half that amount. They also finished behind the Marlins who’s payroll is just a bit higher than a third of the entire Mets roster.
- In October of 2010 the Mets received a secret loan of $25 million from MLB to help cover their operating expenses. That was on top of the $430 million in loans they received that same year from JPMorgan Chase. How could JPMorgan Chase afford to loan the Mets that much money? Well, they did receive the largest amount paid out to any of the banks during the bailout to the tune of $25 billion.
- February 2011 and the Mets are seeking a new loan to stay afloat because oops, owner Fred Wilpon happened to be part of the Madoff Ponzi scheme and is now being sued for millions of dollars. The loan, according to a well-placed source said, both the Mets and Major League Baseball (MLB) were exerting strong pressure on JPMorgan to make that loan happen. JPMorgan also just happens to finance MLB operations. Someone who obviously knows about financing and economics said of the loan, “You don’t lend into a distressed situation…This is a very risky loan.” However, it’s doubtful that something like common sense would stop them from getting the loan.
- The Mets 2011 payroll is expected to be around $108.7 million dollars with almost half of that going to only two players Johan Santana and Carlos Beltran.
Remember America, we need to tighten our belts because while you may be able to live without that night out on the town with your significant other or that tune-up your car needs, we certainly couldn’t live without the Mets.