Los Angeles Dodgers and Fans Paying Premium for Clayton Kershaw

January 17, 2014

The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw to a seven-year $215 million contract. Kershaw just finished his sixth season in Major League Baseball with his second CY Young Award at the age of 25. Kershaw’s average annual value of his contract makes him the first player in MLB history to eclipse the $30 million mark per year. There’s an opt-out clause in the contract that could allow Kershaw to become a free agent again at the age of 30.

There’s no doubt Kershaw has been one of the most dominant pitchers since he debuted in 2008. Since the 2009 season when Kershaw started 30 games for the first time in his career, he trails only Justin Verlander, Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez in Wins Above Replacement for pitchers, according to FanGraphs. The Dodgers are paying a premium to keep Kershaw in Los Angeles and the fans are paying a premium to watch him.

Los Angeles Dodgers tickets on the secondary market had an average price of $50.62 for home games during the 2013 season. Kershaw made 17 of his 33 2013 starts at home in Dodger Stadium and the average price of those 17 games were 12% above the overall home average. After finishing the season with a sub-2 ERA, a sub-1 WHIP and 232 strikeouts, there’s still room for improvement from Kershaw, which should be scaring other National League teams. The Dodgers surged in the second half of the season last year and were able to win the National League West and make it all the way to the National League Championship Series. The Dodgers will be bringing back most of last year’s roster and will be considered one of the World Series favorites before the 2014 season starts. The biggest reason will be the pitching and the Dodgers just locked down their best one for the next seven years.

As one of the best pitchers in baseball on one of the premier franchises in sports, Kershaw’s per-game ticket premium could continue to rise next season.

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