Major League Baseball's revenue sharing plan has done what it was intended to do by giving all 30 franchises a chance to be profitable.
Major League Baseball teams—and all private businesses, for that matter—tend to go pretty far out of their way to keep their financial results under lock and key. And that makes plenty of sense, especially when times are good—having healthy financials usually makes it more difficult to take a hard line during labor negotiations, let alone trying to pry hundreds of millions of dollars from local governments.
The Rangers have finally been sold, so is it possible that the new owners will start spending much more than Tom Hicks?
In case you missed Maury Brown’s caffeine-fueled tweet binge last Wednesday, the Rangers’ ownership-transfer fiasco is finally (and mercifully) over. After months of endless negotiating and maneuvering, the group that was supposed to get the team all along—led by Pittsburgh lawyer Chuck Greenberg and former Advil pitchman Nolan Ryan—ended up winning a day-long auction, beating out a rival group headed by Mark Cuban. The team is now officially out of bankruptcy, off of MLB’s dole, and presumably ready to start running normally again.
The outcome of a lawsuit filed against the NFL could have ramifications for MLB.
It’s been a pretty long road for American Needle Inc. in its lawsuit against the NFL (and NFL Properties, and Reebok), and while it’s not over yet, things are looking up. Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court rejected the NFL’s argument that the 32 teams needed to act as a single entity when it came to licensing its trademarks to apparel makers, saying that the teams could only act in concert when it was absolutely necessary to promote football games (which obviously involve more than one franchise). The case now goes back to the lower courts, where the NFL will have to prove that giving Reebok exclusive rights to produce official merchandise wasn’t an unreasonable restraint of trade—without their “single entity” defense.
MLB Network is winning awards, but hasn't been as profitable as expected for Major League Baseball.
MLB Network has quickly become a very enigmatic business. It had the biggest launch in cable history last January—when it instantly entered almost 50 million homes—and reportedly exceeded expectations on the advertising side in its first year. It’s also been a hit critically, as it won a bunch of Emmys last month, and—in my opinion—has been a hell of a lot better than "Baseball Tonight" since day one.
Back in January, when Apple finally debuted the iPad after years of speculation, Major League Baseball was one of the few companies invited to demo their application live at the unveiling. After seeing MLBAM's presentation, it was no wonder: At Bat for iPad looked incredible, particularly MLB.tv, and I went as far as to call it "the future of baseball broadcasting."
April crowds are not always predictive for a full season but fewer fans are going to games so far.
We're only 3 1/2 weeks into the new season, but Major League Baseball cannot be happy with the way things have started out in terms of attendance. Despite having what should be a ridiculously easy comparison season (2009 will hopefully be the worst economic year we'll have in a very, very long time,) teams are drawing 540 less fans per game, or about 2 percent off of their 2009 level. If we take out the Twins, who just opened their new ballpark, the numbers look that much worse, with the rest of the league down close to 4 percent.
The magazine's numbers might not always be accurate but are still interesting to peruse.
Ahh, sports business nerds' annual rite of spring: Forbes comes out with its financial estimates for MLB—including franchise valuations, revenue, income, and the like—and MLB says the magazine is totally wrong. Well, after looking a little deeper at them a couple months ago, MLB is probably right; Forbes' valuation numbers haven't been terribly accurate as compared to actual sale prices, and you'd figure revenue and net income numbers would be even harder to guess.
Some prognostications on what could happen business-wise in baseball this season.
We're now three days away from the opener, so what better time to throw out some predictions for the coming year. Business-wise, 2010 should be a pretty interesting season, if for no other reason than nobody really knows what to expect. Are we in a full-fledged economic recovery? On the verge of another recession? It's hard to say.
MLB's mobile technology is as good or better than the NFL's, but generates far less revenue.
I started touching on this a bit a couple weeks ago in my MLB At Bat review, and at my blog: as good as MLBAM's technology is, and as amazing as At Bat is in a number of ways, MLB is, by all appearances, getting its butt kicked in mobile by the NFL. Yes, the stodgy old NFL, with almost no official presence on the iPhone, is killing MLB—makers of one of the most popular and celebrated mobile apps in the world right now—in the mobile content business.
A look at MLBAM's updated application for iPhones.
With the pressure on, MLB Advanced Media released the latest version of its iPhone app, At Bat 2010, just moments before spring training games began last week. And although it is once again a hit, this new version is without a doubt an evolution, not a revolution. You'll get all of the key features from last year (Gameday Audio, MLB.tv (if you are a subscriber), pitch-by-pitch, box scores, etc.), plus a few new bells and whistles. But most of what you'll find are only slight upgrades to the previous edition.