Despite their second consecutive playoff drubbing by the New York Yankees, the Minnesota Twins were big winners on -- and off -- the field this season with a division title, record attendance in their new stadium, and according to the team's president, they were a big winner financially, too.
At the Twins shop at Target Field, fans can score everything from $2 Homer Hankies to $285 player jerseys. The store is just one of the new ways the Twins are raking in more cash than they could at the Metrodome.
Luxury boxes, concessions, naming rights, advertising sales; those are all new ways to make money the Twins got when they moved to Target Field.
Jeff Lund of Anoka figures he and his wife have dropped about $500 at the store so far this year, buying Twins caps, shirts, pants and jerseys. He said it's all part of celebrating the Twins' success.
"Just an exciting time, you know. Playoffs; got to come out and spend some money," Lund said.
At their shop at Target Field, the Twins get to keep all profits from what's sold. In most cases, profits from Twins' merchandise sold elsewhere get split equally among all 30 major league teams.
Twins President Dave St. Peter won't share any dollar figures about how well the Twins did this season, but he admits their financial performance was in line with their success on the field.
"Clearly by every measure it's been an incredibly successful year, in terms of attendance," St. Peter said. "In terms of television viewership, radio listenership, merchandise sales."
Of course, St. Peter notes the Twins payroll cost also increased substantially this year. It went from about $67 million to $96 million, and that doesn't even include Joe Mauer's eight-year, $184 million contract, which kicks in next year.
Folks who follow the baseball business figure the Twins put up some impressive numbers on their financial ledger, though, with income rising more than expenses.
"There's a tremendous spurt in revenue here," said Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College. He has long studied the impact of stadiums on teams. "I would suspect you would have seen a revenue jump in the neighborhood of $50 million."
But that's a conservative estimate, according to the number-crunchers at Forbes.
"Target Field, we estimate, will increase revenue for the Twins by at least $70 million," said Forbes editor Kurt Badenhausen, who works on the magazine's annual revenue and valuation rankings of professional sports teams.
Last year, Forbes calculated the Twins had about $162 million in revenue. That was good enough for 16th place among the 30 major league baseball teams. Badenhausen said the Twins will be moving up several notches in the revenue ranking now.
"The Twins have put themselves in that category of teams that are very strong, financially viable teams," he said.
Team Marketing estimates it cost a family of four about $207 to take in a game at Target Field. That was about a 22 percent increase over what they paid in 2009 at the Metrodome. The cost is based on average-price tickets for two adults and two kids, two small beers, four small sodas, four hot dogs, parking, two programs and two inexpensive team caps.
Trailing the Yankees two games to none, it looks like the Twins may quickly see their season come to a close. If so, the playoffs won't be worth much to them financially.