With a lot of money guaranteed to a few players for the next decade, the San Diego Padres will need to be creative to compete in the future. That is certain, but will the upcoming payroll obligations cripple the franchise?
San Diego is not New York City.
As far as sports are concerned, America’s Finest City is way down on the totem pole when it comes to relevancy. The media is minuscule. There is very little to celebrate within the city as far as sports championships. In fact, the city of San Diego has yet to hoist a World Championship in ANY major sport (NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB).
Only the San Diego Padres can become the first franchise to celebrate a “real” world championship.
In order to compete in the new era of Major League Baseball, the Padres’ ownership group got very creative lately. They turned Petco Park into a tourist trap and are generating income like no other time in the franchise’s history. If a fan takes his family to a game at Petco Park, they are virtually guaranteed to spend hundreds of dollars at the old ball yard.
The Padres lead all of MLB in selling out games so far this season. They will easily eclipse attendance records for the franchise, despite the fact the team is playing uninspired ball and several games under the .500 mark. Playoffs are not a certainty, and it will take a massive surge for the 2023 Padres to play well into October.
The Padres discovered a way to generate income even though the team’s success is few and far between. Other teams are taking notice as the Padres proved you don’t need a huge market to generate income. All you need is a bunch of hype and a whole lot of creativity.
The Padres put on concerts in their center field complex. These shows are generating money from Petco Park with the Padres on the road, and that is a genius idea. These concerts do not take place on the field, so it is a win-win situation for the organization. While at home, the Padres host college night and other attractions in their center field complex to create a buzz about the team. The Padres are making money hand over fist, and there is no end in sight. Padres management recently announced a plan to rejuvenate Gallagher Square (Park in the Park area) with a $20 million facelift. Generations of Padres fans will enjoy this area as the team continues to provide a theme park-like experience to their fans.
In recent years, the Padres have finally embraced the brown and gold colors of the past, and that created a huge demand for new merchandise from the fans. Factor in the new MLB City Connect merchandise, which is some of the most popular in all of baseball, and the Padres struck gold with merchandise sales. The recipe has been successful, as Petco Park is sold out on most nights, and there is no end in sight. The tickets are in such high demand that the team will raise ticket prices in a losing season (or at least so far). The Padres announced this week that all season ticket prices will increase by an average of 17 percent.
Petco Park is the hip place to be in San Diego, and the Padres are reaping the benefits.
The explosion of popularity has boosted the Padres payroll. Fans of the team are coming out of the woodwork, as the Padres are full of exciting players. This team is built to win now, and though they have failed to play with any consistency this season, they put on an exciting show. The failures of the 2023 season have not taken a toll on the attendance as the fans keep coming and spending their hard-earned money. This is how the team continues to add stars each free agency period. They are making tons of money each and every home game.
It all has to end at some point, though, right?
For the next decade, the Padres have over one billion dollars committed to Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Xander Bogaerts, Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, and Jake Cronenworth. That’s six out of a roster of 26 players. The writing is on the wall. They must be creative financially to fill out the rest of the roster. If the Padres want to re-sign Juan Soto (who is a free agent at the end of next year), they will need another half a billion dollars and even more creativity.
The team’s current payroll for the 2023 season is $232 million. The ownership group is setting a standard. One which they can likely continue- but as a Padre fan, you always worry about finances and if the team can continue to compete. It is only natural if you’ve rooted for this team for an extended period of time. The pain that ownership groups have inflicted on the fan base is real.
A.J. Preller is a creative thinker. Surely he and the ownership group realize the financial issues that are ahead.
If the Padres continue to draft well, there is an opportunity to add inexpensive talent for the next several years. They can also continue to add international players who may eventually become superstars. Chris Kemp and his department have done well in finding teenage talent from around the globe. There is still plenty of opportunity for the Padres to add homegrown talent to the roster and get better.
The boost in ticket prices will help re-sign Juan Soto and increase payroll in the coming years. The Padres will easily continue to reap the benefits of their new philosophical changes when it comes to spending money. It took decades, but like every great business, you need to spend money to make money.
The groundwork has been laid for this team to be competitive for a decade. The fans will continue to support, and the money will keep rolling in. The Padres possess some hurdles for the future, but nothing impossible to get through. They will continue to add players and improve the roster like no other time in the 50-year existence of this organization.
This is a great time for the fans of this franchise. It has been long overdue. The incompetence of the past is still a scar on the fans, but in time the wounds should heal. Expect San Diego to continue to add talent and compete for a World Series title in the future. The expectations are here. All the fans need are results—time to get it done.
James was born and raised in America’s Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.