As fans, our team winning the World Series is worth a lot. But rarely, I think, do most of us put the win in terms of dollars and cents. We realize that players get bonuses for advancing beyond the regular season, but the actual formulae used and the value of progressing through the postseason isn’t really discussed much.
Major League Baseball, however, doesn’t hide any of this and, as a business minded fellow, I find it interesting. Here’s a look at the monetary impact to players of postseason victories.
The whole thing starts with a pool of cash. MLB creates the pool by combining gate receipts of the following games:
- 50% of gate receipts from the Wild Card Games,
- 60% from the first 3 games of the Division Series,
- 60% from the first 4 games of the League Championship Series, and
- 60% from the first 4 games of the World Series
Add that all up and this year’s pool totaled a substantial $62,683,966.80.
60% of that goes to the World Series teams (36% to the Red Sox for winning, 24% to the Cardinals).
The remaining dollars are split as follows: both League Championship Series losers (the Dodgers and Tigers) get 12%, the four Division Series losers (the Athletics, Braves, Pirates, and Rays), get 3.25%, and the two Wild Card playoff losers (the Indians and Reds) get 1.5%. Based on that, here’s what each team got as a lump sum:
Once a team knows its pool of dollars they next need to figure out how to divide it up into shares. Players with the team for a full season get an equal share of their team’s pool. The full-season players can then vote to award a share of their pool to any other player (say, one who joined the team later in the year or even one who contributed to the team’s success but then left before the season ended), as well as to coaches or trainers. They can also grant a fraction of a share.
Of course, every share granted divides the team’s pool among a greater number of people and, therefore, dilutes the value of a single share for everyone.
Players can award shares to anyone. In 2007 the Rockies gave a full share worth nearly a quarter million dollars to the widow of former MLB big leaguer Mike Coolbaugh, who was tragically killed by a line drive to the head while working as first base coach in a Rockies minor league game (it was that event that led to MLB’s mandate for first and third base coaches to wear helmets, rather than ball caps).
Though little information is available about team splits, it is known that partial shares are provided to club staffers, which can amount to a significant bonus over their regular salary.
What we do know is that the 2013 World Champion Red Sox awarded 58 full shares, a total of 14.895 partial shares and 21 cash awards. This made each Boston share worth $307,322.68. Of the 10 teams receiving postseason money only the Dodgers split their team pool as many ways as the Red Sox did. Here’s how it broke down for all the clubs:
|Club||Shares Distributed||Value per Share|
|Red Sox||58 full shares, 14.895 partial shares||$307,322.68|
|Cardinals||56 full shares, 9.798 partial shares||$228,300.17|
|Tigers||48 full shares, 10.015 partial shares||$129,278.22|
|Dodgers||58 full shares, 11.5 partial shares||$108,037.06|
|Athletics||48 full shares, 6.143 partial shares||$37,316.25|
|Braves||52 full shares, 7.25 partial shares||$34,012.30|
|Pirates||49 full shares, 8.25 partial shares||$35,558.58|
|Rays||46 full shares, 11.11 partial shares||$35,280.10|
|Indians||47 full shares, 15.24 partial shares||$15,107.00|
|Reds||48 full shares, 12.24 partial shares||$15,284.85|
While it may be hard to put a price on the value of a successful postseason (let alone a World Championship), there’s more than just pride on the line when it comes to advancing beyond the regular season. That said, these bonuses are no different that workers in many other walks of life who get extra compensation for a job well done.