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Which side do you believe?

By MIKE STEPHENSON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 11, 2002

Baseball players receive enormous salaries. The average player makes $2.4-million, a figure most fans won't earn in a lifetime. But do player salaries really drive up ticket prices?

"Player salaries are high because ticket prices are high, not the other way around," Bruce Johnson, professor of economics at Centre College in Danville, Ky, told CNNMoney.com. "The only way teams can charge high ticket prices is with fans willing to pay them. The only reason they're willing to pay is because they want to see talented players. But if you cut pay for players, it would just mean more money left for owners."

Like other products, sports ticket prices are based on supply and demand and what price produces the most revenue. Reducing player payroll generally doesn't correspond to reducing ticket prices. For instance, the Red Sox decreased their payroll this season but increased ticket prices.

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