SABR rattling in Havana

Updated: August 27, 2015

21 Mar, 2022
Ernesto de la Torriente, La Bola Rápida

“Cigar?” Offered the leader. Appearing strangely at home, wearing his military ball cap and simple fatigues while seated in the luxurious leather chair.

“Yes please. Thank you El Indio.”

“Fine fine. Gentlemen, welcome to our little club. We are the Sociedad de American Baseball Revolucionarios. Before we decide how to proceed with our campaign, Miguel has some answers to our questions about ticket prices. As you all know this is the first season in which PEBA has offered season tickets. Additionally the Reds (Havana Leones) have increased their ticket prices after embarrassing the Cuban nation last season”

From the smoke filled room murmurs of derision arose. Epithets were hurled. Some narrowly missed other attendees and a few stuck to the darkened walls and leered down on the room like gargoyles, their acrid presence mingling with the smoke of cigars.

“I share your disgust amigos.” The leader growled after a long draw on his cigar. The flaring orange ember at the end reflecting the menace in his eyes as he continued. “Miguel, please chard your findings…”

Attention turned to to the young law student as he approached the chalkboard. “ We began by estimating the 2021 ticket prices by comparing the attendance and gate revenues from the public records. We understand that these are a crude estimate but they’re reasonable for our purposes.”

Wagging beards and grunts of agreement signaled the approval of the gathering.

Miguel continued took a chart out of his messenger bag. “Here are our ticket price estimates:”


“Why are the circles different sizes?” came a voice from the back.

“The size of the circle represents the number of wins that team has last season. As you can see Havana has a very small circle, The Evas’ and Featherheads’ are much bigger.”

The room grew quiet as they took in the information. One was heard to blurt “$36 to see the Knights? Wow!” Another opined, “Yuma looks like a relative bargain… hmm.. What is the relation of wins to attendance? Does ticket pricing have any relation to attendance?”

Miguel rummaged through his messenger bag and produced another chart. “In order to evaluate this we needed to account for the fact that stadiums have different seating capacities. So we multiplied the number of seats time 82 home games to produce a maximum amount of seats available we then compared this to the public attendance numbers to create a ‘stadium utilization’.”

The room grew very quiet. Brows furrowed as if the meeting of eyebrows could somehow make it easier to understand.

Miguel spoke to fill the void, “So if you only filled half your available seats for your home games you’d have a 50% stadium utilization, or as we label it ‘0.5’. Some teams have a stadium utilization of over 1 because we haven’t taken the time to remove playoff attendances from the numbers. It’s a small error and doesn’t affect our results significantly.”

Furrows gave way to silent ‘aaahs’ and smiles.

“Here you can see these values. The number is the utilization and the circle size also reflects this.”


The voice from the back of the room again, “Hah! I knew Tempe was too much. I see they had a low stadium utilization. And I see the Bulldozers were very popular with the people. The Leones did ok but there seems to be room for improvement.”

“Perhaps. Here is the overall result. We’ve mapped stadium utilization (stadut) to ticket prices (tix). The shapes show what position each team finished in it’s division. The color maps to games behind the division leader. The number next to the team abbreviation is the number of wins. The blue line and gray area represent the range of ‘normal’ values. As a rule of thumb to maximize your gate revenues, you want to be as high and right as possible, like Crystal Lake, Florida, Shin Seiki and London.”


“We can see that division winning teams (circles) filled their stadiums as expected These teams also get a bump due to playoff attendance. The rest is a bit of a muddle but there are some interesting points. Please understand we have no measure of fan support in terms of loyalty, interest and market size.”

“Dayton, Neo Tokyo and San Antonio who set the lowest ticket prices, were rewarded by full stadiums.”

“As tickets prices go over $33.50 we expect a marked drop off in attendance. Fargo, Marseille, West Virginia and Tempe could probably have had higher attendance for a modest price drop in ticket cost. There is a lesser and opposite effect for tickets under $22.”

“For our interests we see that Havana is on the fringes. It doesn’t appear that lowering ticket prices would be the most effective way to increase the gate, though we do recommend a decrease for the 2022 season. Being very far behind the division leader hurt us. We simply need to win more games. There is no substitute for victory.”

The leader broke in, “Which brings us back to the purpose of our meeting. Thank you amigo. Barbudos!  I do not need these charts to know what my heart feels. We must take action if the club does not improve. Chaco! Have you talked to the printer?”

“Yes El Indio. The pamphlets are ready and we have started handing them out at the spring training games. The people find truth in our message.”

“Excellent. Umberto, what about ‘the special shipment’ ?”

“Indio, our man in Miami assures us the shipment can be delivered within 24 hours in any weather. He awaits our signal.”

“Very good, don’t signal him yet. Let’s give the club some time. I will arrange to speak with the owner before we meet again.”