Baseball By The Billions (Of Dollars)

How do you assemble a great American pastime? With bats, balls, beer—and a pro league that nets $6.1 billion in revenue. As the World Series looms, we break down what's driving Baseball Inc.

Numerology: A League Above Popup-Icon

Fans bought 73,053,807 MLB tickets last year, down 0.45% from 2009.

Major League Revenue hit $6.1 billion last year, up 4% from 2009.

Major Cash Cows: Boston Red Sox: $272 million, Chicago Cubs $258 million in revenue.

The average MLB player will make $3,305,393 this year. That's a heck of a lot less than superstar yankees Alex Rodriguez ($32 million) and C.C. Sabathia ($24.3 million).

At least 50 everyday expressions can be credited to baseball, including "playing hardball," "hitting it out of the park," and "Say it ain't so, Joe!" 100% of them are cliche.

The New York Yankees tout 27 World Series titles, making them baseball's most successful franchise. But wins don't come cheap. The team's 2011 payroll will top $201 MILLION—almost $30 million more than the second-highest MLB team's.

Among the worst-selling teams: Toronto Blue Jays (1.6 million tickets) and Cleveland Indians (1.4 million tickets).

Let's hear it for little league: Last year, there were 2,020,125 players on kiddie baseball teams.

In modern U.S. ballparks, home plate must sit AT LEAST 250 FEET from the nearest outfield fence—a cinch for late Yankee Babe Ruth, who once hit a 575-FOOT HOME RUN.

Budweiser, Chevrolet, and MasterCard all shelled out at least $450,000 to advertise during Fox's 2010 World Series telecast. Alas, American viewership averaged just 14.3 MILLION— the second-lowest count in series history.

A typical family of four spends $197.35 on a ballpark outing. Some average concession prices: HOT DOG: $3.88; TEAM CAP: $14.35; BEER: $5.81; SODA: $3.59

Movies about baseball have netted almost $1 BILLION at the U.S. box office. The all-stars: Field of Dreams (1989) $64.4 MILLION; A League of Their Own (1992) $107.5 MILLION; The Rookie (2002) $75.6 MILLION

Infographic by Matt Owens

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