Indians score hefty profits

indiansIn good times and bad, the Indianapolis Indians continue to be a hit with local sports fans. The Indians scored a $1.23 million profit this year on $8.7 million in revenue, according to the publicly traded company’s most recent financial disclosure. That compares to a profit of $1.27 million on revenue of $8.22 million in 2007.

Revenue gains were offset by slight increases in expenses, with the most notable a $320,000 bump in advertising and promotion to $1.7 million. Grounds operation expenses were up slightly to $3.52 million and general and administrative expenses bumped up to $1.35 million.

As a result, Indians stockholders will get a dividend of $350 per share. That’s the same as last year, but up from $200 per share in 2006. The team is offering to buy back shares of stock currently for $21,328 per share. The stock, which is listed in the Pink Sheets, has traded for as high as $25,000 in the past year. Some stockholders believe the thinly traded stock is worth more than $30,000 per share. If you want to get in on the action, you might be a little hard pressed. There are only 774 shares outstanding. At $25,000 per share, that would value the team at $19.4 million.

There’s a reason why Indians stock is so valuable. It’s one of a dwindling number of sports properties that makes any money in Indianapolis. And it’s easily the most consistent.

Even in a year when the economy was less than stellar, the Indians saw increases in ticket revenue, concession sales and advertising income. Signboard advertising increased almost $100,000 from 2007, hitting $592,850. Promotional advertising revenue was up more than $130,000 to $858,827 and advertising in the team’s game-day souvenir program also was up. This shows that corporate Indiana understands the value of reaching this predictably solid audience.

This year the Indians drew 606,155, the team’s highest attendance mark since 2000. That put the team’s average attendance at 8,538 per game. If the economy continues to stagger, sports marketers think sports fans looking for relatively inexpensive entertainment options, could push the Indians attendance higher next season.

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