Congrats to the New York Yankees, who clinched their 27th World Series last night by defeating the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 7 to 3. The Yankees’ dominance of Major League Baseball is the stuff of legends. But let’s look at their success in a way that is both relevant to our media coverage AND a shameless attempt for getting linked across the Internet: let’s compare the payroll differential between the Yankees and the Phillies as if they were media outlets. Fair? Balanced? I think so!
Baseball: New York Yankees vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Allow me to restate the sincerest of congratulations to the NY Yankees, World Series champs! They won the game not in the press box or in the sports pages, but where it mattered — on the field of the brand new billion-dollar stadium built with tremendous tax breaks from New York City. However, its worth noting that the metaphorical playing field was not nearly as level as the literal one: The Yankee’s team payroll for 2009 comes in at a league-leading $201 million. By comparison, the Philadelphia Phillies’ overall team payroll for 2009 comes in around $113 million, or roughly 56% of the Yankees’ salaries.
Yankees team payroll, 2009: $201 million.
Phillies team payroll, 2009: $113 million. (56.2% of Yankees)
Magazines: Vogue vs. Self
Where does that stand in media terms? Let’s start with magazines. Who are the Yankees of the magazine world, based on year-to-date revenues booked up to the third quarter of 2009? How about Vogue? Much loved, often reviled, Vogue comes in at around $213 million. Who would be the Phillies in this equation? Self! Yup, so far this year, Self has booked revenue of $120 million, or 56.3% of its Condé Nast sister’s. So Vogue versus Self — who ya got?
Vogue year-to-date revenues, 2009: $213 million.
Self year-to-date revenues, 2009: $120 million. (56.3% of Vogue)
Social Media: Facebook vs. MySpace
Moving on, let’s look at social media properties, as measured by monthly unique visitors according to Quantcast. In this case, the Yankees=Facebook: Facebook totally dominates the social media realm (and seems on pace to soon take over the world, but I digress.) Judging by Quantcast, Facebook enjoys roughly 100 million unique visitors a month. The Phillies’ equivalent? MySpace gets roughly 56 million uniques a month. Never has the comparison between the Yankees and Phillies been clearer.
Facebook monthly visitorship: 100 million unique visitors/month.
MySpace monthly visitorship: 56 million unique visitors/month. (56 % of Facebook)
Cable TV: Fox News vs. ABC Family
Finally, let’s move on to television. I’d love to use cable news as the metaphor, but finding reliable data for revenue and costs for cable news networks is an arduous task. Fox News is the perfect metaphor for the Yanks here — I mean, they are dominating the ratings with a thier primetime lineup is a modern day murderer’s row, and yes, they are equally loved and hated — but neither MSNBC nor CNN measure up to even be considered the lame Phillies-esque competitor. So who can it be? Basic cable ratings can give us a hint: last week, an average of 2 MM household tuned into the self-described fair and balanced news channel. Which network had 56% of those viewers? ABC’s Family Channel enjoyed 1.13 million viewers. So – Yankee vs. Phillies is the same as Fox News vs. ABC Family — Perfect!
Fox News average viewership last week: 2 million.
ABC Family average viewership last week: 1.13 million. (56.5% of Fox News)
So in conclusion — the Yankees deserve credit for winning the World Series, but let’s not pretend that they didn’t have an enormous advantage. Beating the Phillies is akin to choosing Vogue over Self, watching Fox News over ABC Family, or being on Facebook instead of MySpace. It sort of begs the question: how come the Yankees don’t win every year?