Rochester Community Baseball, owner of the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings and operator of the Short-Season Class-A Batavia Muckdogs, has announced a loss of $117,000 for the 2011 fiscal year. It was the group’s third money-losing year in the last four.
One factor has been the inability to show a profit in running the Muckdogs. Since assuming control of the Batavia franchise in 2008, RCB has lost around $600,000 in total on the Muckdogs, according to an article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
Though not rendered explicit in the article, based on past disclosures, this would signal the Muckdogs lost in the area of $110,000 in 2011, up from their $92,000 deficit logged in 2010. That would represent the majority of the Rochester loss in 2011.
Comments from RCB officials no longer hold out hope for a turnaround in Batavia, but instead reflect a realization that sale of the team is inevitable.
“We plan to continue operating the Batavia franchise until it is sold,” RCB President/CEO/COO Naomi Silver told the paper. “Making money any season in Batavia is a tall order. We know that now. Batavia has an extremely loyal fan base but it isn’t large enough. But when the team is sold, we expect to make a considerable profit.”
Despite fielding competitive baseball teams, the Muckdogs have consistently remained among the bottom-dwellers of the New York-Penn League in attendance, drawing on average around 1,000 per game.
RCB’s operating agreement with the Batavia ownership includes five percent take of the eventual sale price of the team. This will be the fifth year of the arrangement, so RCB would receive 25 percent of the sale proceeds from the Muckdogs franchise. That should be over a million dollars and could be as much as $1.5 million.
“The going price for a team in the NY-P League is $5 to $6 million,” Silver said. “I believe it is inevitable that the Muckdogs will be sold. I get a call or two a week from potential buyers.”
The team has been on the market since at least the third quarter of 2010, but no timetable for a sale has been disclosed. The St. Louis Cardinals Player Development Contract with the Muckdogs runs through the 2012 season and at this point, it seems the team will play at least one more year in Batavia.
What happens after that is entirely up in the air.
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