PLEASE NOTE: this post was written prior to finding out that international broadcast revenues are shared amongst all MLB teams equally. The agreement can be found here and it expires at the end of the 2015 season. If your Toronto Blue Jays do win the auction AND sign Darvish you'd have to think that they would have a major say on what the next deal looks like. That's if this guy turns out to be as good as he's been advertised. It is possible that there is a clause within the current agreement that allows teams to place a premium on their games specifically for situations like this. We attempt to explore that concept below.
If you read this blog, you're well aware that Darvish mania has hit a fever pitch in this city.
One thing that has been stuck in our minds was a note from the Toronto Sun's Bob Elliot post the other night saying that Rogers told the Jays brass to get Darvish "Whatever it costs, sign him". All we've been hearing since the bomb was dropped on all Jays fans during the Winter Meetings was "payroll parameters". How do we make the jump from we'll spend money when the fans start showing up to sign him at all costs? Sounds like to us a group of business analysts over at Rogers sat down and started to run some numbers and have realized that this Darvish kid might actually make them some money. How's that possible when we're talking about a pricetag of $125 million once the posting and the contract are settled.
First lesson learned here at 1BJW was, apparently we're quite ignorant when it comes to the actual population of Japan. 128 Million potential Rogers "customers" over there just waiting to watch their Major League playing Rock Star of a pitcher on beautiful HD feeds straight from Sportsnet Central. Another thing we learned was that the Japanese community here in Toronto wasn't quite as large as we might have thought, only about 19000. How many of that number can be either Jays fans or even interested in seeing Darvish pitch at the Rogers Centre. We'll look at that later. But this 128 million is a big number, let's dig a bit more into that.
What kind of tv viewership numbers can we be looking at in Japan we wondered.
Well, here's a look at those numbers.
95 percent of Japanese watch TV daily and that nearly 60 percent of daily viewers watch for three hours or more.
120,000,000 total viewers
72,000,000 watch for three hours or more.
Well holy shit we say, there's a lot of "customers" just waiting for Rogers to push their product to. In Japan there is just one public broadcaster and that's the folks at NHK so it'll make negotiating a broadcast deal with much easier as it's just 1 deal to make.
After a bit of digging we found that the Leafs charge broadcasters $1.25 a month per tv set to get their games and the NFL Network charges $0.81 a month for their product. Ok, that's a bit high for Blue Jays product lets be honest and while we're fans of our team, would these new "customers" in Japan want to watch all our games or just the games staring their National Hero? We here are leaning to just Darvish's starts. Let's start running some numbers here.
Let's start real cheap with charging just a penny a Darvish start, typically he'll get 5 starts a month, here's hoping anyway.
$0.01 Per Start
$0.05 a Month mulitplied by 72,000,000 possible viewers to watch a ballgame.
At this point, you're thinking, that's got to be a high number and you'd be right.
$3,600,000 a MONTH or $21,600,000 a SEASON!
I don't know about you, but a penny a start seems damn cheap, I couldn't imagine if they could actually could get a whopping nickle a start. Being the math wizards we are here at 1BJW, we can tell you that equals $108,000,000 a season! Yes, that's a lot of zeros. What could you charge if he pitches against the Yankees or Red Sox? What could you charge if he lines up against Dice-K? The money is truly endless.
Say what you will about our teams owners, but Rogers is in the business of making money. They do it very well, hence they just ponied up $533 million dollars to buy a stake in the Toronto Maple Leafs. We know the rates we pay here in this country for our Rogers Services and how so very kind they are to us. So what if they can even get a penny a start for him, that'll cover 86 percent of his salary and posting before a fan even steps in the building.
Let's look at that now for a moment shall we? We here at 1BJW don't generally buy the argument that the fans will come to just see a certain player. But maybe, just maybe the curiousity is high when/if Darvish starts here and fans flock in to see his first few starts to see what the deal is. Is the hype real? Maybe, just maybe some of the 19,000 Japanese people that live in the Toronto area will come to see one of their countries own. Maybe. Might happen, we really don't know.
So let's just say, that on the night's that Darvish pitches that the Blue Jays are lucky enough to get an extra 3000 per home start. I'm guessing the first game he pitches here is a sellout and maybe the first few are up there. So an extra 3000 a home start averaged over the season doesn't seem like a strech to us. With this signing, the buzz in the city is sure to build. Will that translate into people in chairs? Maybe, maybe not. But winning sure will and we've all got hope that this will.
But let's just say the average price of a Blue Jays ticket is $40 and you can't go to the ballgame without getting a pop or two and something to eat. So on average another $40 per person. Average.
So, 3000 people at $80 bucks a night is:
$240,000 extra a home start night.
Hopefully Darvish makes 15 home starts throughout the season.
$3,600,000 million a season.
Well wait, just a second here. $21,600,000+$3,600,000 is:
$25,200,000, again we say, that's at a penny a start.
We haven't sold a jersey yet and we're already about $200,000 ahead.
The buzz this potential signing has created has been huge the last few days. Will they sell more seasons tickets because it appears that the Jays are actually taking risks and are attemping to put that competitive team we've longed for, for so many years. Maybe. The number of people that are saying that they'll buy more tickets this season just because it appears that Rogers actually cares about winning with this team. The numbers speak for themselves, what Rogers really cares about is making money.