Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More Fallout from MLB "Leakgate"

Two interesting schools of thought with regards to the Rays' leaked financial documents. Columnist John Romano of the St. Pete Times makes some good points that the team's owners are NOT getting rich fast.

He writes that the documents should give Stu Sternberg ammo that the team needs a new stadium to maintain competitive payrolls over the long-term. But in making his argument about the Rays' limited television revenue, Romano ignores the fact that the problem is likely to remedy itself in a few years.

From 2009 to 2010, Rays' television ratings have soared more than 70 percent. And while it doesn't mean a ton of extra money right now, it will in 2017 when they begin a new yet-to-be-negotiated television contract.

Then you have public-financing watchdog Neil deMause of Field of Schemes who provides an even sharper dissenting view:
So let me see if I can follow the logic: Tampa Bay taxpayers should give money to the Rays for a new stadium because, even though the team right now is both winning and turning a profit, there are other teams that are able to win the same and turn a profit while spending more? Does Florida have some sort of citizen right to throw $16 million a year at A.J. Burnett that I don't know about?
Only time will tell which viewpoint is more accurate - and I happen to think there's validity to both - but the best perspective on the issue (echoing what I said two days ago) comes from Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Tribune:
I don't see why a sports owner doesn't have the right to a profit so long as he upholds the unwritten social contract with the community that demands that they try to put a winner on the field. The Rays have done that.
The challenge to Sternberg now is continuing to balance that social contract with his bottom line...while increasing the pressure on local governments for a new stadium.


  1. Let me pose this question, who's fault is it that the Rays "negotiated" an 8 year local television contract when no one was pointing a finger at their heads? That should NOT be taken out on the fans.

    Also, when you make comments about future payrolls being cut back for a variety of reasons, can it not be interpreted that they are not pinching on the social contract by making some years less important than others? I think the caveat is that they should try to win always. Hard, yes, but look at what mess the Glazers are in.

  2. The bottom line is that the Rays make money. It might not be 'New York Yankees' money, but this isn't New York. And the ridiculous stadium they want to con the city into under threat of leaving would not change a bit - channeling any future revenues to the owners. It's not going to fluctuate if the team revenues go up. And they've already shown they won't honor contracts/agreements to stay even if a new venue is delivered.
    As the previous commenter said, the Glazers are a perfect example. Even after Tampa invested hundreds of millions in the new stadium, they've made no efforts to reinvest in the team or make wise choices regarding it's future. Limited drafts and a rookie coach who fulfilled everyone's expectations with a dismal first season. The blackouts are just the first sign of what everyone is certain is another bad season.
    So much for getting your tax-dollars' worth.