Dodgers New Spring Training Home, Meet Recession

In what seems a recuring theme for the McCourts ownership of the Dodgers, their best laid plans — this time a new spring training facility in Arizona that they thought would be a cash cow — have run smack into reality.

Like, for example, trying to find sponsors.

The Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, who share the facility, were so excited about their new home's potential as a revenue producer that they ignored the proven spring training model of seeking local advertisers and focused their efforts on finding national sponsors.

The concept -- called "The Starting 9" -- was designed to allow nine major sponsors paying $200,000 annually to secure the naming rights for different parts of the facility…. So far, the sales force is 0 for nine in selling them.

They also thought they’d sell about 4,000 season seats, at higher prices than they had charged in Vero Beach. Now, they hope to get to 2,000. Tickets start at $18 for seats an go all the way up to $100 — a ridiculously high price for what is supposed to be fan-friendly Spring Traning.

But for the current Dodger ownership, it’s not about the fans it’s about the money. The connection that the two go hand-in-hand often seems lost, and throw in a challenging economy and you get something bordering on a disaster.

Of course, if Manny Ramirez were in camp, people might pay a little more to show up.

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