If you’re going to sign Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, you better find a way to pay for them. And while the New York Mets expect attendance to rise significantly this season (more than 130,000 advanced tickets were sold on Feb. 27, a club record for a single day), more fannies in the seats alone won’t cover the $270 million the Mets have invested in their new ace and center fielder. So, in the past two weeks, the "new Mets" have struck a deal with a new official bank (Banco Popular succeeds JPMorgan Chase) and have agreed to dot its stadium with "20 large high-definition, flat-panel displays" that will show commercials and live sports scores. The displays, brought to you by Arena Media Networks, will be mounted wherever fans wander between innings, be it a concession stand or souvenir shop. The addition "will make the advertising an integral and welcome part of the baseball experience by giving our fans a new and entertaining way to experience our advertisers’ messages while they are waiting in line to buy snacks or drinks or as they are heading up the escalators to their seats," said Paul Danforth, the team’s vp of corporate sales and services. Ah, long gone are the quaint days at the Polo Grounds (the Mets’ home before Shea opened in 1964), where the "h" on the Rheingold scoreboard lit up for a hit and the "e" for an error. Banco Popular’s name will be displayed under Shea’s outfield scoreboard, on the third-base tarpaulin and on the rotating signage behind home plate. But, of course, it was a lot cheaper to field a team in the take-it-or-leave-it contract era before free agency.
—Posted by Andrew McMains