Opinion ColumnsSports

Small market teams prove it’s not all about the money


By Ryan Kuhn
The Guardsman

The San Jose Sharks. The Oakland Athletics. The Sacramento Kings. What do these three Bay Area sports teams have in common? All three are small market teams who have been successful one time or another.

Just because a team has big money and a big city’s support doesn’t mean it has the formula for success. Sure, the Yankees and Lakers are the exceptions, but when was the last time the Chicago Cubs, who have the third highest payroll in baseball, win the World Series? The answer is 1908.

One would think the Bay Area would have a big market for sports teams, and it does. Take the San Francisco 49ers, for instance. However, smaller teams have also had a lot of success

The San Jose Sharks, for example, have a payroll $14,000 less than the NHL’s biggest franchise, the Detroit Red Wings. To rub it in, the Sharks just eliminated Detroit from the playoffs. Who knew the San Jose would have a team four wins away from playing for the sport’s championship?

The Sacramento Kings are another example of a small market Bay Area team who have done well in the past. In 2000, they were atop the Pacific Division, one win away from the NBA Finals.

Their payroll right now is $8 million less than the Los Angeles Clippers and $47 million less than the Los Angeles Lakers, the league’s highest paid team.

Finally, across the Bay sits the example that has gotten the most publicity: the Oakland Athletics. Brad Pitt was recently asked to star in the movie “Moneyball” as Billy Beane, the A’s general manager. The movie shows how a small market team like the Oakland A’s can compete with the big boys of the sports world even with a payroll of $66.6 million, roughly $140 million less than the top teams in the league.

Just because you have money doesn’t mean you will have success. Just ask the teams around here.


The Guardsman