Seattle's $5 Million Marketing Plan: Ken Griffey
If you believe any of what's being written in the Seattle press, slugging outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. is on his way back to the Mariners, where he got his big league career started. There's no contract in place yet, but all indications are that Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik and Griffey's agent, Brian Goldberg, are zeroing in on a one-year deal that might pay Junior Griffey as much as $5 million.
That's right, the Mariners may pay nearly as much for 39-year-old Ken Griffey Jr.'s .260 batting average as the Angels just did for 34-year-old Bobby Abreu's .296. If that seems crazy, it's probably because, at least in a baseball sense, it is. Yet in the end it may not be crazy at all, because the Mariners are not about to sign Griffey for baseball reasons; they're bringing him back to Seattle to sell tickets.
Let's face it, the 2008 Mariners were abysmally bad. Since the end of the season they've traded away their occasionally-injured closer (J.J. Putz) who, nonetheless, was one of the franchise's most exciting players. They've sent two of the organizations long-prized outfield prospects away in the past 13 months: Adam Jones to Baltimore last winter, Jeremy Reed to the Mets this winter. Put it all together, and Seattle has little to look forward to and a whole lot of rebuilding to watch over if the Mariners are ever going to win again.
That's where Griffey comes in. It's not easy to sell tickets to watch a bad baseball team in the midst of a brutally bad economy. That being said, it's a lot easier to sell tickets to watch a bad baseball team play during a horrendous economic climate if said bad baseball team includes a living legend who is a shoo-in first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Think about it: If you're trying to decide whether or not to take your family to a baseball game, Seattle's probably not the first place on the map. But if you're going to be near Seattle and it offers one of your last chances to see Ken Griffey Jr.'s sweet swing one last time, well, you might just buy those tickets.
Naturally, this isn't the first time a team has made a move to try and sell tickets rather than improve its product on the field, and it won't be the last, either. Still, it just proves that even in the midst of a recession, a team will spend a whole lot of money if it thinks there's a chance it can help make them a winner on the balance books, even if it doesn't necessarily make their product a winner on the field.
Posted by: Samson151 | February 14, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: raymitten | February 14, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: sprintspeed5 | February 14, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bigdogg997 | February 14, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: kevincostello | February 14, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BinM | February 14, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: adampschroeder | February 14, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: PhilliesPhan | February 15, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.