Yes, Virginia, There is an Attendance Clause

How would you feel about this? You are an all-star athlete and you are about to sign a monster contract. Then, without notice, the GM says, “Ok, son. You will be paid a bonus if you bring in more fans to the stadium.” WOW!

Believe it or not, this statement has been said to a few great athletes:

  • Ken Griffey Jr. was signed by the Mariners in 2009 for $2 million. He also received $2.5 million in incentives; including an attendance clause.
  • Mark McGwire was given $1 for each fan that came into Busch Stadium past 2.75 million. Guess how much he earned? $445,691
  • In 2002, Kenny Lofton was given an attendance clause that stated if the White Sox went over a certain attendance goal, he would earn $1.4 million
  • In 2004, Roger Clemens signed a $5 million contract with the Houston Astros. He earned an extra $3 million from his attendance incentive.

To me, reading about this opened up many doors in the world of “weird” contractual clauses. In fact, there are many that have been neatly placed in contracts.

After doing some further research, I found a great website that presents a wide array of “prop” clauses in history.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • In the 2006 season, A.J. Burnett‘s deal with the Toronto Blue Jays included a clause which gave Burnett 8 round trip limosuine ride for his wife to travel from their Maryland home to Toronto.
  • Ben Sheets was able to obtain a suite for every Milwaukee Brewers home game.
  • Cubs’ OF Alfonso Soriano was given a suite on the road and 6 premium tickets for each home game extending from spring training to the post-season. (All-Star game also….if he was selected)
  • Ichiro Suzuki‘s agent Tony Attanasio installed a clause which gives Ichiro 4 annual round-trips from Seattle to Japan (on the Mariners’ tab, of course). He also has housing allowances for $32,000 in 2008, $33,000 in 2009, $34,000 in 2010, $35,000 in 2011 and $36,000 in 2012. Oh, and did I mention Ichiro also gets provided for him an interpreter, trainer, and transportation for spring training and regular season games? Well, he does.
  • One of the more insane installments I have read about was Carlos Beltran’s hotel road suite, 15-person home game suite and an ocular enhancer machine which darts colored tennis balls at 150 MPH.

Daisuke Matsuzaka received the following in his contract:

  • He may not be sent to the minor leagues
  • Physical therapist
  • Message therapist
  • Interpreter
  • 8 first-class round-trip tickets from Boston-Japan per year
  • Spring training housing allowance of up to $25,000
  • Boston housing allowance of up to $75k
  • One-time moving allowance of up to $35,000
  • Lincoln Town Car or similar type of vehicle
  • Red Sox player ticket package
  • Team employee to assist Japanese media
  • Uniform #18

Whew! Crazy stuff, huh?!

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