Welcome To Dodgers, Inc.

After enduring another disappointing end to a season of ups and downs, Dodger fans find themselves in a haze. What will it take to finally win another World Series? Unfortunately for us, ownership might not care that much. Let me break it down for you.

Obviously Dodger fans are disappointed after another horrendous crash and burn out of the playoffs. Some will point to the club’s four straight division titles as an indication of true success. While fans know that true success means World Series or bust, ownership will see otherwise.

There used to be a time when the Dodgers played disappointing baseball and people didn’t show up. The Dodgers last drew under 3 million fans in 2011 at the height of the Frank McCourt divorce. But now that the Dodgers are winning division titles year in and year out, the Dodgers can expect to draw in at least 3.5 million fans, and perhaps push 4 million. The Dodgers drew over 3.7 million fans in 2016–by far the most in baseball. The second place Cardinals drew just over 3.4 million fans. The difference between drawing 3.4 and 3.7 million fans is at least $6 million in parking profits alone. But probably more.

[graphiq id=”93Nm8CY9WmN” title=”Los Angeles Dodgers Historic Attendance” width=”600″ height=”455″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/93Nm8CY9WmN” link=”http://mlb-teams.pointafter.com/l/28/Los-Angeles-Dodgers” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]

At the end of the day, all roads lead to money for Dodger ownership.

Baseball is a business after all, and Dodger fans have been very good for the club’s bottom line. Therefore, there is no real incentive for ownership to field an expensive World Series favorite. Just as long as the Dodgers make the playoffs, the team will have a puncher’s chance, and people will fill the stadium. Money will be made.

Over the course of a season, 3.7 million fans equals $74 million in parking alone. Think about it. The Dodgers have made back the massive $250 million in extra salary resulting from the Adrián González trade in 2012, and then made millions on top of that on parking alone. Yet, the team has cut payroll every year since that trade, because it means more money for ownership. Can you fault them?

A Look at the Potential Los Angeles Dodgers 2017 Roster

So moving forward, what kind of moves can we expect from the Dodger front office?

Expect the Dodgers to continue putting heavy emphasis on the farm system. Developing prospects is “cost efficient” compared to shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars for a top free agent. Speaking of top free agents, don’t expect the Dodgers to be breaking any free agent signing records any time soon. Why cut into profit?

One day, maybe even next year, the Dodgers might enter the postseason as World Series favorites because of its strong farm system. But for every penny that is saved by building a farm system over signing big free agents, the result on the field becomes a little less predictable. This means that we’ll have to continue hoping for Joc Pederson to bat over .250 one day, and for Pedro Baez to one day record meaningful outs.

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Sunha Kim

Sunha writes for Dodgers Nation and Boxing Insider. A graduate of The Ohio State University and Harvard, his writing has appeared in Yahoo!, the business news site Quartz, Dodgers Blue Heaven, and Sons of Steve Garvey. A Dodger fan growing up, his favorite player was pinch hitting guru Dave Hansen. Follow him @SunhaPKim. E-mail him at [email protected]


  1. I have to disagree with you.   The indians payroll is 26th out of 30 and they are in the World Series.  THe Royals were near the bottom last year.  It does not take a big payroll to win it just takes the right people.    So management should care because eventually us fans will figure out the game a quit going to games.

  2. Doing your cost analysis based on parking alone is flawed. You assume 300k additional people all pay $20 each. Have you even been to a game? How many cars are one driver? How many don’t buy in advance and pay only $10? There are TONS taking Uber in Lot 12 or taking the Express bus or walking in= zero parking revenue. Now if you did your homework and spoke of ticket prices (which increased last year) and per capita spending on food, beer and merchandise this would be slightly more credible. And the fact that over 3 million season tickets were sold in 2016 before opening days says something as well. And says nothing of the Time Warner (now Spectrum) TV rights. Sorry Sunha, nice graph, but you need to do much more homework here. Everything else here is just speculation and supposition.

  3. Since teams like the Cubs and Indians who build from within will never have a shot to win the WS, right?

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