Have you ever wondered just how much a professional athlete is truly worth to their organization? Do you feel that the teams you follow continually overpay their athletes? What if there was a way to determine a player’s worth prior to offering them a multimillion dollar contract?
David Scibetta, recent doctoral graduate from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, has done just that. A researcher working for Major League Baseball Players Association, Scibetta states to have devised a formula to calculate how valuable each individual athlete is to their respective baseball team. Taking into account numerous factors, such as on-field production compared to the average player, public image, national and international fan base, and “big play” productivity, Scibetta believes that he has come up with the formula that tells the players just how much they are worth.
“I grew up in Western New York following the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball,” stated Scibetta. “Born into a family of Yankees’ fans, I was quick to learn that most people outside of New York hated the fact that the Yankees were ‘my team’ and simply assumed that I was a bandwagon fan. Having heard of every excuse under the sun as to why I should not like the Yankees, the one reason that came up most frequently was that they simply overpay for the best talents in the game. Eventually, I began thinking, ‘Well, if the Yankees are overpaying for the top talents in the game, how could the organization even fathom paying these players such ludicrous amounts of money if they weren’t truly worth every penny?'”
Scibetta began working on his “What they are worth” formula while completing his Ph. D in critical-cultural communication at the University of Pennsylvania, as he decided he wanted to explore the rationale behind the hatred so many displayed toward the Yankees. It was during his studies that he learned that the Yankees knew exactly what they were doing.
“The New York Yankees are the most profitable team in all of baseball. Their marketing team knows how to sell the Yankees’ brand, and they do it extremely well. Having one of the largest fanbases of any sports team, players become nationally recognized as soon as the ink dries on their contracts.”
Despite increasing payrolls, Major League Baseball organizations know that their investments are miniscule in comparison to the revenue these players will bring in. With his refined formula, Scibetta hopes to inform the players and the association what each individual is worth in the league. Using Scibetta’s formula, the MLB Players Association can now inform each player what he should expect to receive from a team when signing a new contract. Whether the teams decide to follow Scibetta’s formula, however, is yet to be seen.