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Rockies credit fan turnout for increased payroll

Attendance surpassed 3 million last year for first time since 2001
@harding_at_mlb
April 5, 2019

DENVER -- Rockies owner Dick Monfort celebrated Friday afternoon's home opener by crediting last year's increase in attendance with helping his comfort level with a rising payroll. The Rockies entered last week's season opener with a total adjusted payroll of $147,433,009, a club record, and the Rockies are bracing for

DENVER -- Rockies owner Dick Monfort celebrated Friday afternoon's home opener by crediting last year's increase in attendance with helping his comfort level with a rising payroll.

The Rockies entered last week's season opener with a total adjusted payroll of $147,433,009, a club record, and the Rockies are bracing for next year's anticipated rise -- with lefty Kyle Freeland hitting arbitration, righty German Marquez reportedly in a new contract, and shortstop Trevor Story in his second salary-arbitration year, plus relievers Wade Davis, Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw in the final year of their deals.

Add to all that large contracts for third baseman Nolan Arenado, outfielders Charlie Blackmon and Ian Desmond and first baseman Daniel Murphy.

But fans coming to the park make a difference for a team that, according to Monfort, spends 50-55 percent of its revenue on player salaries.

"Last year, we drew 3 million people for the first time since 2001," Monfort said. "In the old days you would sell a $25 ticket in whatever row, whether it was Saturday or whether it was Tuesday. Now we've flexed those prices to where we can get a little better yield, and we charge more for Opening Day than we do for Game 14 on April 28 or whatever it is. A lot of things there have helped.

"We've got a great fan base. We got a new TV deal three or four years ago that was a sizeable jump. But if you look back, we're always in the 50, 54, 55 percent range of our revenue on our payroll."

Monfort said the team has spent $120 million on improvements at Coors Field, which opened in 1995, with $40 million in renovations and improvements occurring over the past two years.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.