BOB:  MLBAM and Curt Schilling Lashes Back

MLBAM is the future of baseball

With revenues estimated at $380 million in 2007, Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) has proven to be a boon to the league. In an interesting column by Jorge Ortiz at USA Today, the technological arm of baseball is examined fully. Ortiz talks about how MLBAM streamed more live events than any other website in the world and that baseball has emerged as the top option for other sports leagues that need their online content managed.

In 2005, the league thought about taking MLBAM public. At the time, the company’s value was estimated at $2-2.5 billion. With revenue up over 50% since that point in time, you have to figure the company would be worth even more than that now, but Bob DuPuy has said that the league has no current interest in a even a partial initial public offering. He doesn’t say why, but it has quite a bit to do with the fact that it would require the league to open up its books.

Curt Schilling fires back at writers

At the winter meetings, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) approved a resolution that would render players who have contract incentives for awards that the BBWAA votes on ineligible for those awards. This was prompted by a clause in Curt Schilling’s contract that gives him $1 million if he receives just a single vote for the Cy Young award. Jack O’Connell, the BBWAA secretary-treasurer, said that the attachment of bonuses to the awards creates the perception that the writers are dishing out a monetary reward to the players.

Curt Schilling fired back on his website saying that if the writers would just vote for the best player, then it wouldn’t be a problem. He also goes on to say that any writer who injects his personal bias into a vote shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

Tigers cash in on winter meetings blockbuster

The Tigers broke a daily season ticket sale record on back-to-back days last week after the trade they consummated with the Florida Marlins that sent six prospects to Florida for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. The previous best day was back in 2004 when they sold $250,000 worth of season tickets the day after they signed Ivan Rodriguez. On Wednesday, they shattered that record with $600,000 worth of sales and then they broke it again on Thursday with $680,000 worth of sales.

The Tigers set an attendance record last year when they drew 3 million fans for the first time, but that was with a capacity of just 92%. With the advance sales they’ve had to date, the team could sell out Comerica Park completely shortly after single game tickets go on sale on March 1.

Nationals’ stadium name won’t happen until 2009

The Washington Nationals haven’t been able to complete an agreement to sell the naming rights for their new stadium that is set to open in 2008, so for now, the stadium will be called Nationals Park. When asked, team owner Mark Lerner said that he felt the naming rights sale would be more of a 2009 event and he preached patience in finding the right partner. The Nationals have hired an outside firm to help them secure the naming rights, and they’re hoping for a broad deal that would include interactive features for the fans. The estimated value of the naming rights for the stadium come in at around $10 million a year.

St. Petersburg mayor mum on new stadium

Florida governor Charlie Crist has endorsed the prospective waterfront stadium that the Tampa Bay Rays hope to build for their team, but to date St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker hasn’t chosen a side yet. All he’s publicly said is that he hasn’t committed to a side and that he won’t make a decision anytime soon. Critical to the process, Baker could potentially hold up or block the stadium process early on and he hopes to hear more not just on how the Rays plan to add park land around the ballpark but also about the sketchy financing plans for the project.

Giants get into the television business

The San Francisco Giants announced earlier this week that they were buying a 20-30 percent interest in Fox Sports Net Bay Area and that the team and the station will agree to a 25-year cable television deal. This is on the heels of the Giants ending their long relationship with KVTU and it means that the Giants will be spotlighted on the network in expanded pre-game, post-game and magazine-style shows.

Barry Bonds pleads not guilty

Barry Bonds was arraigned on Friday on his four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. In a media storm, the all-time home run leader pleaded not guilty on all counts and was released on a $500,000 personal recognizance bond. Bonds thanked his family, friends and fans for their support on his personal website.

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