Angelos: Club went $4-5 million into red in '96 Postseason income helped

revenue-sharing was costly

March 09, 1997|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Orioles owner Peter Angelos informed his fellow investors yesterday that the club lost between $4 million and $5 million last year, and would have lost nearly $4 million more if the team had not recouped about half its regular-season financial losses with the proceeds from postseason play.

Joe Foss, the club's vice chairman of business and finance, confirmed those figures after Angelos conducted his annual partners meeting yesterday morning in Fort Lauderdale. The loss included about $2 million in added revenue-sharing costs that were assessed retroactively as part of baseball's new collective bargaining agreement.

Angelos annually brings all of his fellow investors to Florida for a weekend during spring training. The partners took in two exhibition games and are scheduled to return to Baltimore today.

"It was basically a very informal get-together with the investors to bring them up to date on the status of the club, the new players, what's going on," said assistant general manager Kevin Malone.

The bad economic news could not have come as a surprise, because Angelos has been telling everyone about the club's financial woes since it became apparent in November that baseball owners would approve the labor agreement and the enhanced revenue-sharing plan that came with it.

The Major League Baseball Players Association disputed claims of financial duress by several large-market teams during the labor dispute, prompting Angelos to call on his fellow owners to open the books and prove their case. He promised to release the Orioles' financial statements to the media after sharply increasing ticket prices to offset future losses, but hasn't yet done so.

Foss said that the Orioles made nearly $4 million in extra revenue from the five postseason games that were played at Camden Yards. That revenue came from concession sales, parking and the club's share of gate receipts.

The Orioles hope that the club's recent increase in ticket prices will allow the team to break even in 1997. Foss estimated that in a best-case scenario, the Orioles could realize another $7 million in ticket revenue, plus added concession revenues if the club's attendance exceeds projections.

Pub Date: 3/09/97

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