BOB:  Dodgers hit home run with television deal

Dodgers, Time Warner partner

After a couple of months of speculation, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Time Warner inked a deal to create a new regional sports network, SportsNet LA, that will be controlled by American Media Productions, a Dodgers subsidiary. A couple of months ago it looked like Fox would get the television rights back, but around the first of the year, word started leaking out that Time Warner was making a serious play.

I haven’t seen confirmed numbers yet, but MLB.com is reporting that it’s a 20- to 25-year deal worth $7 to $8 billion. That will pay the Dodgers around $280 million annually beginning begin in 2014. This will trump their current deal with Fox, which pays the team $40 million annually. Time Warner will be the charter distributor of the new network and be the exclusive advertising and affiliate sales agent for the new network.

The deal still has to be approved by the rest of the teams. The primary focus there will be on whether it meets MLB’s revenue sharing rules. As part of its bankruptcy proceedings, a portion of the team’s television revenues can be exempt from revenue sharing. That number will most likely be determined when the owners meet to approve on the deal.

Cincinnati nabs 2015 All-Star Game

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced last week that Cincinnati and the Great American Ballpark will host the 86th All-Star Game in 2015. It will be the first at the Great American Ballpark; the last time the city hosted an All Star Game was 1988. This be the fifth time All-Star Game foe Cincinnati.

This year, Citi Field in New York will host the game. Next year the honors go to one of the newer ballparks, Target Field in Minneapolis.

Rays owner ramps up rhetoric

The owner of the Tampa Bay Rays, Stuart Sternberg, testified front of the Hillsborough County Commission last week. At the forefront of the discussion was how the league no longer believes in the Tampa Bay area. While the word “contraction” was never used, that seemed to be the undertone. Selig added fuel to the fire by saying the status quo isn’t sustainable, but that he hopes the Rays will eventually get a new ballpark.

Field of Schemes does a nice job of summarizing the differing points of view. At the forefront is the argument that the Rays have done quite well despite mediocre attendance. The article also asks why, if the league no longer believes in the area, there even a discussion over a new stadium, but that was summarily dismissed by Sternberg.

How much did Marlins Park cost?

Also at Field of Schemes, we have some editorial comments on the recent announcement that the cost of the Florida Marlins ballpark continues to rise. The city spent $500 million, but because the credit terms were less than favorable, the cost will end up much higher in nominal dollars. Of course then we have the justifications and the use of inflation as a cost reducer, but there’s one example where a $91 million loan will ultimately cost the city $1.2 billion in balloon payments between 2026 and 2048.

Field of Schemes estimates the ultimate cost for the park is around $800-$900 million. That would put it behind just Yankee Stadium when it comes to the most expensive stadiums.

Reds stay with Louisville Bats

The Cincinnati Reds extended their current player development contract with the Louisville Bats through 2016. Their original deal lasted through the 2014 season.

The Bats have been the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate since 2000 and are usually in the top 10 in minor league attendance. More importantly, the team is just a two-hour drive from the big league club. More and more teams have tried to consolidate their affiliates near their home ballpark in the last few years.

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