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In the black

Brewers mediocre on field, stellar in ledger books

Posted: Friday December 07, 2001 1:35 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Milwaukee Brewers, the team formerly run by commissioner Bud Selig and now controlled by his daughter, were baseball's most profitable club in 2001 after revenue sharing, figures released by major league baseball show.

The Brewers, benefitting from a new stadium, netted $16.1 million last year, slightly more than the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. Without revenue sharing, the Brewers were the fourth-most profitable team with $14.4 million, behind the Yankees ($40.1 million), Mariners and San Francisco Giants.

When interest on debt is factored in, the Brewers were the second-most profitable team, with $9 million, behind only Seattle ($14.8 million).

The data also show that the Brewers saw their local revenue jump by nearly 50 percent this year.

When Selig became baseball commissioner in 1998, he put control of his stock in a trust which designated his daughter, Wendy Selig-Prieb, to run the Brewers while he is commissioner.

The team, which began playing in Miller Park this season, took in $88.95 million in local revenue in 2001 -- up from $60.14 million the year before in County Stadium.

The neighboring Minnesota Twins had $31.87 million in local revenue, a $10.5 million increase from the year before. Taken together, the numbers suggest that a team's improved performance can help drive up local revenue, but sometimes a newer stadium is an even bigger factor.

The Twins are on baseball's chopping block, facing possible elimination. Owners voted Nov. 6 to eliminate two teams, and Minnesota and Montreal are the leading candidates. Contraction is on hold until next month because a Minnesota court issued an injunction that forces the Twins to play next season.

The Brewers, whose stadium was funded in large part with revenue from a regional sales tax in the Milwaukee area, saw a much bigger surge in money even though they were a far less competitive team than the Twins.

Minnesota had its best season in nine years, leading the AL Central for much of the season and finishing six games behind first-place Cleveland.

The Brewers continued their long string of mediocrity, finishing fourth in the NL Central, 25 games out of first.


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