There’s a new study out confirming that Major League Baseball teams increase their fan base and their ticket revenue by having international players on their rosters.
Perhaps it’s a no-brainer but this study from the University of Michigan spells it out and does the math for us. The research was done over the years 1985-2005. While there was initial prejudice at first, fans warmed up to international players and by end, there was shift to the polar opposite, that is, a slight prejudice towards teams without international players.
To put numbers on it, each international player added to an MLB team could mean over a half million in ticket sales based on 2000 data.
The preference peaked in 2000 when each international player added approximately $595,632 to ticket sales, the study showed. The average MLB team that season showed 10.8 foreign-born players on its roster and garnered an average of $6 million in additional revenue, the paper said.
Of course, if these numbers just reflect ticket sales, I can only imagine what kind of effect they may have on media such as television, cable, and online advertising.