Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sacramento v. Orange County Demographic Data

It's no secret I love Maloof Sports and Entertainment - it is the organization that gave me my first work experience in professional sports and for that I am eternally grateful. Therefore I'm saddened to see Sacramento area fans demonize their struggling ownership in reaction to the potential Anaheim move. This is so much more than an arena issue (though do you realize Arco Arena/Powerballance Pavilion was built as a TEMPORARY arena expected to last 10 years? It's given Sacramento 15 years past its prime). Pegging it as such misses the point. A recent article in the Sacramento Bee highlighted the impact the recession has had on small market teams. It was a point I have been trying to make in sports bars and on twitter and it inspired me to research census data on Orange County and Sacramento County to see if I could drive the point home:

  • Orange County has an estimated population of 3,026,786, over twice that of Sacramento County (1,400,949). This means without even accounting for potential ticket prospects in San Diego County and the Inland Empire (which I assure you are more populous and prosperous than counties such as Yolo and Sutter, which neighbor Sacramento), relocation provides twice the sales prospects. Even if a greater percentage of Sacramento residents like the team, a smaller percentage of Orange County may very likely equate to a larger total number.

  • In addition to having more people than Sacramento, Orange County has people with more money. 13.3% of Sacramento residence are below the poverty line, while in Orange County, this number is 9.9% (significantly below the state average). Homeownership rate in Orange County is 3.2% greater , and median property values have a $130,000 advantage over Sacramento. 30.8% of Orange County residents have a Bachelor's degree or higher, as opposed to just 20.5% of Sacramento County, a figure which is closely correlated with earning potential. Per capita income in Orange County is $3,000 higher than the state average, while in Sacramento, it is $1,500 lower than the state average.

Fun fact: When I worked for the Kings in 2007 (and their ticket costs have gone down considerably due to decreased demand) do you know what the average season ticket cost was? About $4000 - just under the $4500 that separates the per capita income of Orange County from Sacramento County.

  • Here is another fun fact: a large portion of season ticket sales come from private companies who use them for such purposes as client entertainment and employee incentives. Sacramento has a total of 28,532 private companies that call the county home. This is less than one-third of the 89,527 that hail from Orange County. Also, less than one-third of the Sacramento population is employed in the private sector (453,536) so guess who writes checks for much of the rest of the employed population of Sacramento? If you guessed the (broke) state and (broke) federal government, you guessed right! As a former employee of the State of California, I can tell you that a professional climate which includes mass lay-offs, mandatory pay cuts, and unpaid furlough days is not conducive to frivilous spending on leisure. Even if you're lucky enough to be at a high pay grade and in an secure position - say, a state senator - it wouldn't look great to your constituants if you were spending their tax dollars to sit courtside would it?
  • As for persons who purchase individual game tickets, in Orange County, residents spend approximately $2,000 more per year on entertainment than Sacramento residents... that's a lot of single game tickets! And remember, there are also about 1,600,000 more residents, so the total amount of additional leisure dollars available in the area is actually in the vacinity of $22.4 billion... The Kings don't need to be the hottest ticket in town, if they get even a small piece of that proverbial pie, they will be in a much better place financially.