The Toronto Blue Jays indicated today that they believe they have not been hiring enough units of playing ability in the marketplace over the past few years, an argument that G.M. J.P. Ricciardi had been making, sometimes none-too-subtly, for at least two years. They have announced that the budget for player salaries will be $210 million over three years. My contacts with the club tell me they do not expect to divide it equally over the three years, but will probably spend less this year and more in the next two years.
“We have the resources now to go out and do some things that we would like
to do,” said GM J.P. Ricciardi. “We’re going to take it and look at all the
avenues available to us going forward.”
Ted Rogers, owner of the Blue Jays, and Paul Godfrey, president, are smart guys. They have also announced that they will be renaming the SkyDome “Rogers Centre”, replacing the Astroturf with FieldTurf, and replacing the out-dated jumbotron. I’m assured there will be many other changes to the venue to make it more fan-friendly [I tried to convince them that really loud rock music between innings is driving fans away, but their response was, “To be honest, we’re not targeting your demographic” (60+ year-olds who like Vivaldi)].
The point is that they will be trying to improve both the winning percentage of the team, an important shift variable for demand curves, and the quality of the experience at the venue at the same time. And this is a very good strategy — if it works.