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Mets in World Series good for team's bond holders

The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets

The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are introduced to the sold out Citi Field crowd before Game 3 of the NLDS on Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday / William Perlman

The New York Mets' first appearance in baseball's World Series since 2000 won't just have fans cheering, it should also bring a smile to holders of the club's bonds.

Competing for the Major League Baseball championship this year should generate excitement among fans next year too, helping the team fill its stadium, Citi Field, at home games. That will push up revenues, making more cash available to pay back the debt.

The Mets completed a four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series. They meet the Kansas City Royals in the best-of-seven World Series beginning on Tuesday.

Credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service said in a note on Monday that for bondholders, if not for fans, it does not matter if the Mets win or lose the championship. Moody's report showed that home attendance usually increases the following season for both the winner and loser.

Increased attendance can have a compounding effect at modern stadiums like Citi Field, completed in 2009, which offer fans better dining and shopping than the usual hot dogs and popcorn.

"Just getting butts in seats actually can have a multiplier effect that you used to not have at some of the old stadiums," said John Medina, an analyst at Moody's.

Medina's research showed that home attendance increased the following season for every major league baseball team, apart from one, that has played in the World Series in the last 14 seasons. The exception was the San Francisco Giants in 2012, when attendance fell 1.5 percent.

"It definitely helps the credit," said Craig Brandon, a fund manager at Eaton Vance, who owns Mets bonds. However, Brandon cautioned that the bonds are not just about ticket sales as other revenues such as licensing fees also back the bonds.

"The Yankees bonds are more a pure play on ticket revenues," said Brandon, a Boston-based Red Sox fan. "When the Yankees are in the World Series it's more of a direct credit positive."

Moody's said the average increase in home game attendance following a World Series was 10.6 percent and the median increase 5.7 percent.

The Mets have around $650 million in outstanding debt that was issued through the New York City Industrial Development Agency to construct the Mets' new stadium. Some of that debt last traded at $115.62 cents on the dollar, yielding 1.45 percent.

The Mets did not respond to questions from Reuters.


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