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Revenues, attendance down for Mustangs
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
This year was not a good one for the Martinsville Mustangs, as home game attendance and revenues dropped significantly.
Attendance at the city-sponsored summer league baseball team’s games at Hooker Field in 2012 totaled 36,750. That was 7,130 less than the previous season, figures provided to Martinsville City Council on Tuesday showed.
Game-day revenues, largely from sales of souvenirs and concessions, totaled $84,651. That was $8,752 less than the 2011 season, figures reveal.
Total revenues, including other sales such as advertising at Hooker Field, in 2012 amounted to $120,732. When the final tally comes in, expenses to operate the team are projected to be $188,245, which would result in a net cost to the city of $67,513, figures show.
The city had budgeted a net cost of $51,374, a report shows.
However, this year’s net cost is higher than last year’s net cost of $58,464.
The team’s expenses are not yet settled due to an ongoing issue involving invoices from an equipment supplier.
The Mustangs had the 24th highest per-game average attendance among more than 500 teams nationwide in more than 70 summer collegiate leagues this year, the trade magazine Baseball Business recently reported.
However, the team never has turned a profit. The council has committed to the city sponsoring the team through next year. A decision on whether to keep sponsoring it is to be made after that, officials have said.
But this year’s figures are “definitely not where we want to be with this team,” said Interim City Manager Leon Towarnicki.
He cited various reasons for this year’s low attendance and revenues.
At least a third of the approximately 30 home games were affected by the weather, including rain or excessive heat, which likely led to low attendance, according to Towarnicki. He said three games were canceled, due either to rain or a power failure that occurred one night.
The team saw $5,013 in unexpected travel expenses after a Patrick Henry Community College bus it uses on road trips had to undergo repairs and a charter bus was hired, Towarnicki said.
Also, a change in general managers that occurred in March “absolutely killed us,” he said, noting that work toward the 2012 season was delayed. He said “it was the worst possible timing” for the team to have lost a general manager.
The general manager who was hired, Dean Hennis, has decided not to return in 2013. Applications have been received for the job, Towarnicki said.
Still, interest has been shown in turning the Mustangs into a public-private partnership. Towarnicki said a private entity may be recruited to manage the team on a day-to-day basis, and proposals are sought by Oct. 5.
Councilman Danny Turner said he knows of one person who is interested in buying the team outright, but he did not identify that person.
Council members had no substantial comment on Towarnicki’s report.
Also Tuesday, the council gave its final approval to an ordinance declaring the former Druid Hills Pool on Indian Trail and residential properties at 125 Askin St. and 122 Summit St. to be nuisances so they can be torn down.
Details on that and other decisions made during the council meeting will be reported in the Martinsville Bulletin on Thursday.