The question was how important the New York Yankees are to Major League Baseball. Let’s start with the answer, very important. The New York Yankees are the only global sports giant known and tracked worldwide. Interest drops significantly if you mention another baseball team. The Yankee franchise generates a lot of money for New York and his family, the Steinbrenners.
But it goes far beyond that. Everywhere the Yankees go, the dollars follow. When the New York Yankees play at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida, the crowd almost doubles under the dome. The Tampa Bay Rays have an average home audience of 14,000; When the New York Yankees come to town, that number will rise to 20,000 or more for the duration of the series. This is important to the Tampa economy, the Rays and their concessions. This also applies to any location the Yankees play, albeit to a lesser extent.
For New York City, game day is very important to the New York economy, especially the Bronx restaurants, bars, and shops. The average attendance at Yankee Stadium in 2019 averaged 42,000 per game. Many of those thousands stay in local hotels, go to bars and restaurants, and buy tons of team memorabilia. In 2018, the Yankees generated $ 11.9 million for the city of New York just for the opening game.
The New York Yankees have a huge payroll, so they pay a luxury MLB tax that puts some of their earnings into an MLB pot, which then distributes it evenly to every major league team across the country. That pot paid $ 118 million to teams across baseball.
Another great example of how important the New York Yankees are to baseball is making television income. The Yankees have their own broadcasting capabilities, with the YES network being the most successful regional sports broadcaster in all sports. But it goes beyond that. For example, the newest World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles was the least-seen World Series in history and grossed less broadcast dollars.
The most watched World Series in fifteen years was the 2009 World Series. Why because the New York Yankees were up against the Philadelphia Phillies. In this series, almost 20 million viewers see the games. This year, the average viewership was just over 9.5 million per game. The previous low was 12 million in the Detroit San Francisco World Series in 2012.
What is the record for attendance in a World Series? It was another New York Yankee series, that 1978 with the Dodgers. An average of 44 million watched these games, and a crucial game six produced the largest television audience of any baseball game at 51 million.
The bottom line is that when the New York Yankees are involved in anything, including the World Series, everyone wins! The New York Yankees are the most important team in Major League Baseball.
EmpireSportsMedia.com columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.