Bryce Harper may not justify his massive contract on the field for the Phillies, but he’s already showing he can make money for the franchise.
Many MLB executives were floored by the 13-year, $330 million contract the Phillies gave Bryce Harper in free agency. It’s an open question whether or not he will ever help Philadelphia win enough games to justify that investment. The superstar’s chance of helping the Phillies recoup their money off the field is much greater.
Jersey sales aren’t a perfect indicator for a player’s potential commercial worth, but they are a solid data point for teams to consider. The fact that Harper broke the record for sales in the first 24 hours after a jersey launch has to thrill Phillies business executives.
We’re not suggesting that Philadelphia based their contract offer to Harper entirely on what he could do for their bottom line, but it was definitely a consideration. The superstar outfielder is unquestionably one of the most popular players in MLB. Perhaps more importantly, he’s also one of the game’s most marketable players.
Expect the Phillies front office to take full advantage of his arrival. Ticket sales will obviously get a huge boost from Harper’s signing. Philadelphia may not sell out every game on their schedule, but expect their season and individual game revenues to increase sharply compared to last season’s totals.
The organization’s corporate sponsorship revenue should also make a significant leap. At a very basic level, more eyeballs on the team will lead to more companies being interested in aligning with the franchise. With Harper in the fold, the Phillies should easily join the top echelon of MLB teams in terms of sponsorship revenue. They may not catch traditional powers like the Yankees or Dodgers in the short-term, but they should ascend to that next tier of teams.
Harper’s play on the field will be scrutinized for the next 13 years, but his off field value should be considered as well. The Phillies didn’t just sign him to play baseball. They signed him to increase the organizaton’s revenues as well.