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March 4, 2010 11:47 am

Squawking Baseball: LA Story

19

Shawn Hoffman

Are the Dodgers really losing their financial sanity?

Did you hear? The Dodgers are getting cheap. Really cheap. By 2018, they'll be spending less than the Royals on payroll, all while pocketing about $300 million in profit. If the team doesn't do well, so be it—people will come to the games anyway, because in the history of sports (and particularly in Los Angeles, where there's little else to do), there's nothing that fans enjoy more than a rich team that doesn't spend.

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February 18, 2010 7:06 pm

Squawking Baseball: Non-traditional viewing

25

Shawn Hoffman

This could be the year that watching MLB games on mediums other than television takes off.

We're coming up on a really fascinating period in the history of sports media. At some point in the next five to 10 years, the television industry is going to be staring down the same barrel that the music industry has been looking at for the last decade. Cable in particular is just waiting to get its lunch eaten, as our already-exorbitant monthly rates keep going up thanks to more and more basic-tier channels that we'll never, ever watch. For the major sports leagues (and even some of the non-major ones, for that matter), the options are pretty clear: develop some contingency plans, or risk losing an incredibly large chunk of your revenues.

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February 11, 2010 11:45 am

Squawking Baseball: Valuing Franchises

13

Shawn Hoffman

While Forbes creates a stir each spring with its valuations of major-league franchises, do the numbers have predictive worth of acutal sale prices?

For the past 20 years, Forbes Magazine (and previously Financial World Magazine) has put out its annual estimates of the thirty MLB teams' revenue, income, and value every April. For obvious reasons, these numbers can be incredibly valuable for anybody outside the industry; they are the only full set of financial estimates that are publicly available, so by default they're our best option for any kind of economic analysis.

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February 4, 2010 11:56 am

Squawking Baseball: The Best and Worst GMs of the '90s

48

Shawn Hoffman

Dialing up the wayback machine to see who ranked atop and at the bottom of MLB during the Clinton era.

As a recap, here's my original piece on PER (or Payroll Efficiency Rating), followed up by some adjustments, and then the first part of this series two weeks ago.

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January 28, 2010 12:17 pm

Squawking Baseball: The Age of the Payroll Floor

24

Shawn Hoffman

The union's new activity towards making teams uphold one of the CBA's provisions.

Welcome to the age of the payroll floor, or at least the mandate to spend some esoteric minimum if you're taking other teams' revenue-sharing dollars.

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January 21, 2010 12:19 pm

Squawking Baseball: The Best and Worst GMs of the Aughties

66

Shawn Hoffman

The best and worst single seasons and decade-long performances by the men in the front office.

For me, this is a lot of fun, but as a refresher, here's how these rankings are calculated. First, we find each team's expected revenue, based on their third-order winning percentage, and how big their market is. Then, you divide that by what each team's marginal revenue should have been, had they won exactly as many games as their payroll would have predicted. (Draft pick value is also factored in, so the worst teams get slightly more credit than the vanilla mediocre teams.) The end result is PER-Payroll Efficiency Rating-which tells us how well each team spent their payroll dollars.

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January 14, 2010 12:42 pm

Squawking Baseball: Waiting for the Winter of 2011-12

10

Shawn Hoffman

Attempting to predict when the free-agent market can look to have a financial rebound.

Let's throw some cold water on an outdated idea: player salaries don't always go up. Over the long term, there's always going to be a decent amount of inflation in payrolls, but it's very cyclical-instead of rising 10 percent every year, as we lazily tend to assume, there are significant peaks and troughs along the way. Right now, because of the recession, we're in a down cycle-2010 payrolls will likely be flat from their 2008 levels, meaning that any team that signed a mediocre player to a "going rate" contract in '07 or '08, assuming that it would look cheap by the time it was done, is probably feeling very sorry today. On the flip side, there's a pretty good chance that we'll look back at some of the deals signed during this recession and think of them as absolute steals.

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