Fast Company

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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