For some reason, the Marlins expect more fans to show up at games next year

To date, the most active team this offseason has been the Miami Marlins, and not because they are adding players. They're subtracting them. Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon have all be traded away in cost-cutting moves. Chances are Miami is not done dumping salary either.

The ownership group led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter finalized their purchase of the Marlins a few weeks ago, and cutting payroll is part of their plan to get the team's debt -- the club's debt is said to be north of $400 million -- under control. For what it's worth, other bidders have said they would've raised the team's payroll, at least in the short-term.

On Tuesday, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald launched a five-part series looking at the Sherman/Jeter group's business plan for the Marlins, which the team dubbed Project Wolverine (Jeter grew up in Michigan). According to Jackson, Project Wolverine projects an attendance spike in the coming seasons, in addition to increased revenue through broadcasting rights and corporate sponsorships. The attendance information is most interesting:

The document projects a big spike in attendance revenue in 2018, which would seem difficult to achieve in the wake of trades involving Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon.

The Marlins generated about $30 million in ticket revenue last season, but Wolverine projects increases to $37.5 million in 2018 and $40.6 million and $45.8 million the following two seasons.

According to a source, even though the National League announced the Marlins' attendance at 1.6 million last season, only 820,000 were paid tickets.

Wolverine projects the paid figures to rise to 1.1 million, 1.2 million, 1.35 million, 1.5 million and 1.65 million over the next five seasons.

The spring version of the document, since altered, projected a jump in overall attendance (paid and unpaid) to 24,235 in 2018 and 27,284 in 2019, a substantial jump from 20,395 in 2017.

Hmmm. How, exactly, do the Marlins plan to increase attendance? They had trouble filling the ballpark even when they were competitive. The team could slash ticket prices and/or hold great promotions, otherwise I'm not sure why the club would project an increase in attendance revenue. The plan seems to boil down to ...

  1. Trade away all our best players.
  2. ???
  3. Profit!

Not sure that's going to fly, but who knows, maybe the team has something creative in mind.

The Sherman/Jeter group paid $1.2 billion for the Marlins and they have reportedly been looking for investors to infuse cash, and Project Wolverine was part of the pitch. It seems like the Marlins are asking potential investors to take a bit of a leap of faith based on their projected revenue increases.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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