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[Chron] Astros not interested in a Sugar Land affiliate

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Smokey, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. msn

    msn Member

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    How so?

    I would think that most folks who attend ML games do not do so for all 81 home dates -- thus making it possible for folks to attend *both* (that and the fact that there are sure to be more than a few non-overlapping dates).

    Minor league games are a spectacle unto themselves -- if folks want to attend, they will do so because they want to attend a minor league game, not to spite the local ML franchise. Also, if the ML franchise is winning, it will draw fans -- likely to include folks who also take in a minor league game from time to time.

    It's possible for them both to do well. Just win, baby.
     
  2. msn

    msn Member

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    Interesting thoughts, but I think perhaps you underestimate the size of the market (the consumer/populous market, not the media market) in this area. We're talking like 6 million people. They can both do fine.

    Frisco hasn't hurt the Rangers. The Braves, as pointed out by the poster earlier, haven't suffered.

    I hope Sugarland gets the minor league action in the near future. It'd be great.
     
  3. Smokey

    Smokey Member

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    I live near the proposed stadium. I am a baseball fan who has lived in a minor league city. Unless the seats are great at a major league game, I'll take minor league everytime. Unlike football and basketball minor leagues, the baseball minor league product is good. Minor league isn't about winning or losing - it's about watching big time prospects - whether the guy is on your team or the opponent - he may be playing in the majors shortly. Minor league has cheaper tickets, cheaper parking, cheaper/better concessions, better seating, and a better overall experience (giveaways, events, etc. etc.).

    I would seriously consider owning season tickets to Sugar Land's minor league team if it has a major league affiliation. An independent team is garbage and I would not spend one dollar on it.
     
  4. justtxyank

    justtxyank Member

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    The Astros do not sell out games as it is and a lot of the crowd they draw comes from the suburbs. If even a small percentage pick a minor league game that is closer to them on a particular day, there is no reason to think that attendance is replaced somewhere else.

    I don't know the dynamics of the attendance for the Braves and the Rangers, like where their stadiums are in terms of the crowd they draw. I do know that Atlanta has struggled with attendance though.
     
  5. msn

    msn Member

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    Every suburb won't have a minor league field in its back yard. Additionally, of the 9,000 that would attend a game, how many of those specifically chose the minor league game over the major league game? How many of those will attend *both* during the season? Finally, how many times will the minor league be the only choice anyway, since the Astros will have been on the road? Conversely, how many times will the Astros still be the only game in town as the Sugarland team will be on the road?

    In other words, I think you're grossly overplaying or overestimating the impact here. There are like 6 million people in this area. It can sustain both.

    If the Astros continue to suck, some minor league team in the 'burbs will certainly *not* be to blame for attendance woes.

    Just. Win.
     
  6. Bojangles

    Bojangles Contributing Member

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    I like the idea of a Sugar Land minor league team. It seems a little premature for the Astros to write the area off already for a AAA affiliate.
     
  7. Al22ex

    Al22ex Member

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    Guys the other problem is you can't just create a Triple-A franchise out of thin air. The affiliated minor league franchises are independently owned and have what is called a PDC. Player Development Contract with the major league club. Only in a few situations does a major league team own or partially own its affiliate. In fact in Triple-A only Atlanta owns theirs.

    There would have to be a Triple-A team that is willing to move from their market. Guess what? No one is looking to relocate. The most recent candidate was Omaha. But Sarpy County decided to build a new stadium outside of downtown Omaha. They are staying put. So if the market is doing well, they aren't going to move. Most Triple-A markets are doing well these days.

    Also Atlanta was 10th out of 16 teams in the National League last year in attendance. They have been around there for the last 5 years or so. So MSN is right the attendance hasn't made Braves games less attended. But is hasn't helped more people come to the game either.

    Houston suburbs have been studied as Triple-A baseball markets in the past. They fail because more people identify with the Astros anyway. The Astros are really the only game in town during the summer months... they like not having to fight with anyone and be the only thing going on. Smart business move by Drayton to block it. Round Rock was perfect fit for them because it was the Austin area where a lot of transplanted Houstonians are and frankly the Astros own most of Texas in terms of baseball fans. People there identify with the brand because Austin area is Astros country. I doubt they would ever leave RR situation if Ryan wasn't president of the Rangers.

    Also independent baseball...depending on the league is not GARBAGE. The American Assoication is the premiere independent minor league in the country. More players filter into the affiliated leagues from the AmerAss. than any other indy league in the country. The Atlantic league is a bunch of has beens. The other league don't quite match-up talent wise. But the baseball is more than adequate and I will say is sometimes better than High-A affiliated ball and below, because you have veteran players on these teams and the teams play to win... not develop talent.

    I can't wait to see what happens with baseball in Sugar Land. I would love to call their games as I have family in Houston and getting to spend my summers broadcasting there would be great.
     
  8. justtxyank

    justtxyank Member

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    Sorry, I forgot about this thread.

    I don't know how many would be picking the minor league game over the Astros. A third maybe? Just a thousand? I really have no idea. I'm not an industry insider so I don't have access to any studies on this, but I think it's a larger percentage than you seem to think. If the Astros lost even 1% of their total attendance at home games that would be impactful. The economic times have already hit attendance. Every percentage point counts.
     
  9. msn

    msn Member

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    Al22ex, if moves were so very uncommon, how come the Astros have moved their AAA two or three times since 1980?

    The PDCs also expire.

    I'm *not* saying this could or should happen in summer 2010 or 2011. Only that it is certainly possible -- even desirable -- in the intermediate future (say, 3-6 years?)

    txyank, we simply disagree. There are over 6 million people in this area. Other areas have been able to sustain both, and Houston can, too (IMO).
     
  10. justtxyank

    justtxyank Member

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    Sure they can sustain them, but it isn't in the best interests of the Astros to try.

    The Astros aren't the Yankees or Red Sox where they are selling out every game. Heck, they don't even really get close most nights. Any hit to attendance at all is a hit to Drayton's bottom line, which he is incredibly sensitive to.
     
  11. Al22ex

    Al22ex Member

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    PDC's expire... yes... franchises do not.. at least not unless there is one for sale or looking to move.. Right now.. there is not.

    Look at the Pacific Coast League and tell me which of those teams is looking to move?

    There are only 30 Triple-A teams.. There are only as many as there are major league teams. Oklahoma City.. Where Texas's Triple-A is now... is not in danger of moving.

    The last moves were Tuscon going to Reno... (new stadium) and Richmond moving to Gwinnett Co. GA. New Stadium.

    This is not to say one won't become available in three to five years. Las Vegas has been looking for a new stadium for example. But no one has threatened to move. A franchise would have to relocate to Sugar Land.. the PDC's figure themselves out.
     
  12. msn

    msn Member

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    But you could have said all of that a few years ago when the Astros left New Orleans. Regardless of whether any franchise is "looking to move", it happens. Not every year, but several times a decade.

    Precisely! Then what are we arguing about?

    Neither are 27 other ML franchises. You and I disagree on the attendance hit a ml franchise in Sugarland would have on the Astros. My opinion is that it would be *negligible*. Especially if the Astros find a way to stop sucking.

    Which is the real issue with attendance: (to be redundant)

    Just. Win.
     
  13. Smokey

    Smokey Member

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    Couldn't the Astros say we're not offering a PDC unless you move to Sugar Land?
     
  14. Al22ex

    Al22ex Member

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    No. The Major League organizations have no direct control over where franchises are located unless they own the team.

    Which is not the case here.

    Franchises are owned by ownership groups. The affiliation is determined by the PDC. Theoretically a team could pull its affiliation, but would not have a Triple-A franchise. This would never happen.

    And since the Astros want no part of this... which I would agree with if I were their owner or CEO, they would not be forcing or trying to force anyone's hand.

    However, a major league team could have influence on a potential relocation site. The Astros had a lot of influence on Round Rock relocating from Jackson to Round Rock for Double-A and eventually upgrading to Triple-A. There would also be no way Corpus Christi would have agreed to build a new stadium without the team being an Astros affiliate.

    But again since there is no team looking to relocate this is a moot point.
     
  15. Al22ex

    Al22ex Member

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    New Orleans is still in New Orleans... PDC now belongs to the Marlins. Team did not relocate. Remember PDC's change all the time...but franchises don't

    We just completed a huge relocation of Triple-A teams throughout the 90's and early 00's So many of these teams have new or newly renovated stadiums.

    Like I said earlier, the only PCL team that may even remotely consider moving right now is Las Vegas. But, right now that seems like a long shot.


    We are not arguing. Just discussing and if a team were looking to relocate. Sugar Land would not be on the top of a lot of teams' list. Trust me on this. I have spoken personally to owners of both the Omaha club, and the league itself. Going into a big league teams marketing territory is not something they like doing unless it makes sense. In Atlanta's case... they bought the team. They probably care more about developing players nearby than drawing at their games. They were somewhere in the middle of the pack in attendance.

    Triple-A teams are not there to win. They are where you keep 40 man roster players and Vets that you might need in an emergency should someone goes down. It's where you stick a hitting prospect with a last bit of seasoning to see more breaking balls. Or where a pitcher goes to face hitting that is just underneath the big leagues.

    Sure someone wins a championship. But they do not build teams to win championships. If you want a team built to win games...In fact most people who go to minor league games don't even care who wins. They are there for minor league experience. Sure winning helps, and gets you free advertising in the paper..(in Sugar Land's case probably not) With the ever shrinking Chronicle and TV sports segments. They are using this time and space for you know the big league team in the market.

    Take a look at this article it will discuss what Triple-A, and really all minor league baseball is really about. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/070415/23smallbiz.htm


    People will enjoy Indy baseball in Sugar Land. PLayers are more accessible. Fewer games. Roughly 45 home games in INdy ball. 76 home games for Triple-A. They also play to win. Is the quality of baseball Triple-A, nope. But will the average person who comes to the games know the difference? Nope. The die-hards will care, for awhile. Then they will see the passion indy ball players play with for the slim chance they will get to play affiliated ball next year or the next. Or in some cases, play to win a championship.


    Do not expect the Astros to budge on this. By the way Frisco I think is a bad example. Frisco draws from Frisco, Allen and McKinney. NOT from Dallas or Arlington where the Rangers are. The Rangers draw from Dallas, Ft. Worth Arlington Grande Prairie and Irving. Also remember Frisco is Double-A, meaning its a bus league. Lower operating costs for the club. Triple-A may be able to be supported by Frisco, but I am sure they they like kicking ass in Double-A turning a huge profit.


    I think its great that you have a lot of passion for it and think it could work. I tend to agree with you that at face value, the team would draw and do well. I do not think its unfeasible for a Triple-A team to succeed in Sugar Land. But, I can completely understand why Drayton wants no part of it. Especially in this economy.
     
  16. Smokey

    Smokey Member

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    It's official. City council approved the stadium tonight and SL will be acquiring an expansion team in the Atlantic League to start play in 2012.

    Get ready for the Long Island Ducks, Newark Bears, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, coming to town soon!
     
  17. MadMax

    MadMax Member

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    so not a team affiliated with an MLB franchise, huh?
     
  18. msn

    msn Member

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    Hey Alex, I somehow missed this post back then. Great post (all of it, not just the snipped part)! Thanks for your thoughts; I'll try to review the article you linked when I find some time.

    Two things--I was discussing the Astros' ability to draw with the "just win" comment; and I still think their performance will have infinitely more to do with attendance than the proximity of a AAA or AA club (different market entirely, isn't it?). Secondly, I'll try to wrap my undereducated head around what you present here concerning the Astros' possible position. At face value, at least to me, it simply doesn't seem like something the Astros should be concerned about in the least.
     
  19. bigben69

    bigben69 Member

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    Sugar Land actually just made a deal to bring a team to sugar land last night. It is not an MLB affiliate but should be fun to watch and I'm sure they will bring a crowd. Sugar Land eats up any type of family activities.
     
  20. JunkyardDwg

    JunkyardDwg Member

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    Town Center isn't exactly thriving.
     

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