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People will Come
May 14, 2010 7:39 AM   Subscribe

If you buy it, people will come. The property from the movie The Field of Dreams is for sale. You could own a 193 acre farm, along with a baseball field, and a tourist destination that gets approximately 65,000 visitors annually. The current owners even have permission from Universal to sell memorabilia. Along with ownership of the property comes ownership of the Field of Dreams site. The asking price is $5.4 million. via.
posted by bove (44 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Metafilter joint venture time. I totally want to be partial owner in this.
posted by djduckie at 7:43 AM on May 14, 2010


Metafilter joint venture time. I totally want to be partial owner in this.

If Metafilter does collectively buy it, we could rename it Field of Beans.
posted by amyms at 7:59 AM on May 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


I've always agreed with that movie: People go to Iowa City, and they find it boring.
posted by thanotopsis at 8:03 AM on May 14, 2010


Nah, I think we should keep saving up for Waterworld.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:05 AM on May 14, 2010


I went to school in the Quad Cities, and one of the things I deeply regret is that in four years, I never got off my ass and headed out there to see it. Say what you will about Kevin Costner, or, well, most of the film, but James Earl Jones' speech about baseball, mixed in with the "wanna have a catch" bit at the end staggers me every time. Four years, and for some reason, whatever was happening in the Quad Cities (or more likely, on campus) was somehow more interesting? Boo, I say. Boo to my twenty-year old self. If someone sees him around, give him a smack on the back of the head for me.

Then tell him to actually study once in a while. It could have grave repercussions for his future.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:07 AM on May 14, 2010


How much corn would I have to grow on that plot of land to recoup my $5.4 million?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:08 AM on May 14, 2010


If I were rich, I'd buy it just so I could put up a fence to keep people out. Maybe that would stop that stupid catchphrase.
posted by DU at 8:11 AM on May 14, 2010


This is the perfect Father's Day present for the Dad who has everything.
posted by mmmbacon at 8:14 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


You could own a 193 acre farm, along with a baseball field

I watched that movie with my dad, who grew up on a farm and spent 25 years working as a farmer. And who loves baseball. He thought it was the dumbest thing he'd ever seen and that the people who made the movie obviously didn't know the first thing about farming.

In the movie, Ray and his wife are supposedly going to lose their farm because Ray used up so much of their land to build a baseball field. But as my dad pointed out, the ball field would have taken up less than an acre, or, in terms of its size relative to their total land, about half a percent. Which would have made VERY little difference in terms of his return from his crops. And as for not having a crop, at one point the banker brother-in-law was screaming, "You got no crop, Ray!" while a beautiful stand of corn was gently waving right behind him.

I don't really have a point, except perhaps that if you buy the land I hope you know more about farming than the script writers did. Or the land will stop looking anything like it did in the movie.
posted by orange swan at 8:14 AM on May 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


...but James Earl Jones' speech about baseball, mixed in with the "wanna have a catch" bit at the end staggers me every time.

Terence Mann: People will come.
posted by ericb at 8:14 AM on May 14, 2010


> Ghidorah: If someone sees him around, give him a smack on the back of the head for me.

I'd tell him to read the book. It's much better than the film, Kevin Costner, and even James Earl Jones. It's more Ray Liotta than anything...

A-and JEJ's character in the book is J.D. Salinger. Explains a lot.
posted by chavenet at 8:20 AM on May 14, 2010


I did go. Flew over 4000 miles to be there.
(Stopped at other places of course, but the Field of Dreams was compulsory.)
posted by Webbster at 8:21 AM on May 14, 2010


Nah, I think we should keep saving up for Waterworld.

Dreadful derail, but I am fascinated by how Kevin Costner lost "it" - his star wattage; he once had a weirdly flat, but definitely charismatic, acting talent and he can't produce it any more. It's not merely crap movie choices, or age or stories about his bratty behavior (the Waterworld mess)...and it's different from what, say, Mel Gibson has lost - or Russell Crowe (imho!). I wonder if Costner ever watches Field of Dreams with the curtains all pulled tight & tries to figure out how to get it all back?
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:21 AM on May 14, 2010


I've been there. It's a cornfield with a baseball diamond carved into it. Since cornfields are pretty boring, and baseball is pretty boring, the combination of the two wasn't much less boring.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:38 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dreadful derail, but I am fascinated by how Kevin Costner lost "it" - his star wattage

He used it all up in "The Bodyguard". If you watch closely, the precise moment was at the end of the fight scene in the kitchen with the rival bodyguard where he coolly beats him down while still eating an apple. Poof! All charismatic juice evaporated.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:39 AM on May 14, 2010


How much corn would I have to grow on that plot of land to recoup my $5.4 million?

A quick estimate is that if you can get 65,000 people to show up each year and extract an average of $20 per head, that'll garner you $1,300,000 per annum, multiplied by three years is $3,900,000 without adjusting for inflation or growth/contraction of the business, meaning the Lansings think their property is worth $1,500,000.

Now, I'm not sure how far underwater Ray and Annie Kinsella were to Mark and his yuppie banker buddies but at current land prices the farm is worth about $900,000 to $1,000,000. So you'd be paying a premium of $500,000 on a two-bedroom house, some outbuildings and yeah, a ball field where you can sell Hollywood-inspired nostalgia to the Branson set who can be arsed to make it out there.

That $500k at 30 years/7% is going to be $3,600 per month, equal to the daily take at $20 per head, not including rights to Universal or the actual cost of the doodads, plus the upkeep of the field and concessions and I assume you actually have to provide some form of entertainment and staffing.

As a business, it worked in the past, but you have to keep in mind that every year that goes by means less and less people exposed to the movie, meaning less fans and there are just so many times (1?) that a person will be willing to make a pilgrimage out to Dyersville to stare at a cornfield. I cite the example of the Bull & Finch in Boston. Every year the crowd of gawkers look older and less enthused about derailing their sightseeing to buy a t-shirt, mug or what-have-you. And those bastards can just walk up, they don't have to be bussed in.

In essence, I think the Lansings have milked the project for what it's worth and are trying to sneek out at a premium. You'd have to keep up the 65,000 visitors per year somehow and at the same time eek out enough profit from the farm and the business to cover the $500k premium which would eat into your profits by probably as much as 30% from day one and you wouldn't be able to close the business as it accounts for almost $4,000,000 of the sale price. Good luck getting a bank to finance that one.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:46 AM on May 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


Ah, nice analysis, jsavimbi. I also should've have more clearly stated that I meant how much corn would someone have to grow on the actual baseball diamond to generate $5.4 mil. I was thinking of just tilling that silly old baseball field.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:51 AM on May 14, 2010


jsavimbi: Can I assume you pulled the $20/per out of your ass?
posted by Bonzai at 9:00 AM on May 14, 2010


But as my dad pointed out, the ball field would have taken up less than an acre, or, in terms of its size relative to their total land, about half a percent.

I was actually living in Iowa when I watched this movie and I had a moment of "wait what" at that. The farmhouse/yard complex is often as big as a baseball field on even small family farms. The fields themselves are HUGE. We used to be warned not to go playing in the cornfields because we might get lost and die out there. (I didn't put much stock in that, because seriously, but the point remains: huge.)
posted by DU at 9:04 AM on May 14, 2010


Can I assume you pulled the $20/per out of your ass?

Now I'm thinking to renovate the place and make it a stripper club field.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:04 AM on May 14, 2010


We used to be warned not to go playing in the cornfields because we might get lost and die out there.

My mother used to worry about us playing in the cornfields, and even at six or seven, I was just pfft, all you have to do is follow those ruler straight rows and you'll get out.
posted by orange swan at 9:09 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


We used to be warned not to go playing in the cornfields because we might get lost and die out there.

My mother used to worry about us playing in the cornfields


THEY WERE TRYING TO PROTECT YOU FROM SATAN!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:13 AM on May 14, 2010


I was thinking of just tilling that silly old baseball field.

Yes, there is a number of how much corn you'd have to grow, but my explanation is that you wouldn't be able to, given the time you'd have to pay off the loan or recoup the investment in your lifetime. Those 3.5 acres where the ball field sits are worth $4,500,000, according to the Lansings. You would have to keep the business running at its highest level attained into the future and unless Costner shows up to do a sequel even more popular than the original, that isn't going to happen. You'd need an apparition at this point.

You can work out the math regarding if you'd be able to survive by farming the remaining 193.5 acres and even if you added the ball field, but keep in mind that the acreage is rented out to other farmers and given that 80% of land sales in Iowa go to neighbors, I'm willing to bet that all that adjoining land is spoken for and even if you were able to buy or lease other properties in the area, it would be difficult to achieve economies of scale. Also, my hunch tells me that the friendly neighbors are probably renting the land below market value as they were doing Mr. Lansing a favor so that he could spend his time hustling the busloads of tourists instead of staring at the corn full time.

So back to your question, 3.5 acres will yield approximately 400 bushels of corn per year, at $3.56/bushel, you'll pull in $1,432 per year on the ball field plot, taking you about 3,500 years to pay off the loan if your bank doesn't mind you being underwater every month until the Messiah comes back.

Like I noted before, 30% of your gross income is going to go to the business mortgage, $35,005.56. That's gross. You won't be turning a profit on the leased land, so figure out that you'll be making about $7,000 a month before taxes. You'll have a two-bedroom house to live in and all the hot dogs you can eat and all you'll have to do is hope the buses keep showing up.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:27 AM on May 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


IT DIDN'T WORK.
posted by orange swan at 9:28 AM on May 14, 2010


But as my dad pointed out,

Also a dad, I made it my quest when watching movies with my kids to point out inconsistencies and illogical behaviors which I thought everyone would welcome and enjoy.

I think that may be one of the factors in both of them moving out of state.
posted by digsrus at 9:33 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


jsavimbi: Can I assume you pulled the $20/per out of your ass?

No, that's a standard cost factored into concession sales. I'm using the Boston sporting event figure from the 90's, applying it to Iowa of the 20-teens. It's a ballpark figure but a good guesstimate based on what a percentage of your visitors will be willing to spend above the cost of getting there and the time you have them monopolized. There was no mention of a liquor license, so we're talking t-shirts and such.

That being said, I have yet to see a person wearing a "I've been to the Field of Dreams" hoodie.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:34 AM on May 14, 2010


I don't see any way you'll get $20/person and still have those numbers of visitor. Part of what draws the Iowans and makes them take out of state family and friends there is that it's free. Well, I spent $1 for a vial of dirt with a Field of Dreams sticker on it when I was there as a kid.
posted by BlooPen at 9:39 AM on May 14, 2010


children of the corn...if you market it, people will be idiots.
posted by Postroad at 9:40 AM on May 14, 2010


If you build it, He Who Walks Behind the Rows will be pleased.
posted by anazgnos at 9:47 AM on May 14, 2010


Also a dad, I made it my quest when watching movies with my kids to point out inconsistencies and illogical behaviors which I thought everyone would welcome and enjoy.

I think that may be one of the factors in both of them moving out of state.


I find mockery and editorial comments during movies and TV shows to be like onions. Ideally, the whole company does, or the whole company does not.
posted by orange swan at 10:04 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


jsavimbi: Can I assume you pulled the $20/per out of your ass?

That's what James Earl Jones tells Ray to expect in the movie. I'm all teary-eyed now after watching that part again. It's 10:30 in the morning and I'm not even American. Damn you, Metafilter.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:28 AM on May 14, 2010


You're probably thinking of the "Field of Dreams" slash fic. It's an easy mistake.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:31 AM on May 14, 2010


My mother used to worry about us playing in the cornfields, and even at six or seven, I was just pfft, all you have to do is follow those ruler straight rows and you'll get out.

Of course according to Murphy's law you'll actually be in one of the largest center pivot irrigation fields in the region.
posted by crapmatic at 10:44 AM on May 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's the field in Google Maps satellite view. I've saved myself a trip to Iowa and whatever admission fee there is.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:45 AM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


On my trip out west, I stopped by the Field of Dreams. It was closed.

But hey, it's kinda like the World's Largest Ball of Twine, if you're that close, you just have to go.
posted by madajb at 11:13 AM on May 14, 2010


he once had a weirdly flat, but definitely charismatic, acting talent and he can't produce it any more.

'Cause he stopped making sports movies.
posted by madajb at 11:24 AM on May 14, 2010


'Cause he stopped making sports movies.

I still enjoyed Dances With Wolves and not just as a period piece. He's best when he plays the anxious loser part versus the winner. Costner can't handle winning.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:27 AM on May 14, 2010


A quick estimate is that if you can get 65,000 people to show up each year and extract an average of $20 per head ...

So, same as in town?
posted by shiny blue object at 12:23 PM on May 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, same as in town?

Same as in what town?
posted by jsavimbi at 12:28 PM on May 14, 2010


I used to live in the midwest, and a friend and myself took a road trip to see this about 15 years ago. It was pretty unimpressive in person.
posted by SpacemanStix at 12:53 PM on May 14, 2010


Spooky. I really did have a customer at work this morning in a FoD shirt...
posted by Samizdata at 1:28 PM on May 14, 2010


>jsavimbi: It's a ballpark figure

Indeed.

Also: You'd need an apparition at this point.

A-and there we have the plot of a wonderful novel. Which can be made into a movie. About a ballpark figure who is also an apparition.

I'd prefer someone do The Thrill of the Grass [PDF] rather than attempt a Shoeless Joe sequel.
posted by chavenet at 2:07 PM on May 14, 2010


I thinking of an apparition more along the lines of Lourdes. Another baseball related movie that doesn't cure brain cancer will just prop up the single-owner cottage industry for another generation, not support a region for 150 years.

Maybe they can get someone credible, like Tom Clancy, so see a virgin out there in the corn. that should get the ball rolling. A freshwater well would be helpful.
posted by jsavimbi at 2:47 PM on May 14, 2010


Previously on LOST: Field of Dreams ...
posted by bwg at 6:22 PM on May 14, 2010


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