Business of Baseball Report

Mets Break Ground on New Stadium, Reach Sponsorship Deal With Citigroup

Earlier this week, the New York Mets broke ground on their new Ebbets Field-like stadium. The rotunda, which was a special feature at Ebbets Field, will be used to honor Jackie Robinson. The stadium is set to open in 2009, and it has an estimated price tag of $800 million.

The Mets also announced last week that they had reached a 20-year, $20 million-a-year sponsorship deal with Citigroup, one of the world’s largest full service banks. Under the agreement, the new stadium will be called Citi Field. The deal is the largest of its kind. The previous record was set by the $10 million that the National Football League’s Houston Texans receive every year under their deal with Reliant Energy.

Athletics Reach Stadium Deal With Cisco Systems

The Mets aren’t the only team making major stadium announcements recently. The Oakland Athletics reached a deal with Cisco Systems to build a new stadium for the team in Fremont, Calif. I touched on this rumor in last week’s Business of Baseball Report; the official announcement was made last week. Cisco Systems will sell the land to the Athletics for the ballpark and pay $4 million annually for the next 30 years for naming rights. If the city ultimately approves the plan, the stadium will be ready for Opening Day 2011.

Another item that’s up in the air is whether the Athletics will change the city name of their team. Both the Fremont A’s and Silicon Valley A’s have been thrown around as possibilities.

Terry Ryan Named Executive of the Year

Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan was named the Sporting News Major League Baseball Executive of the Year. He engineered a Twins team that won the American League Central four out of the last five years. The award is voted on by MLB executives. This is the second time Ryan has walked away with the award; he also won in 2002.

Boston Red Sox Win Daisuke Matsuzaka Marathon

The Boston Red Sox won the rights to negotiate with Japanese superstar Daisuke Matsuzaka and his agent, Scott Boras, exclusively for the next 30 days. The price tag for this was somewhere between $42 and $50 million. Most of the top of the salary food chain put in bids; the likely second place bid came from the Texas Rangers, who announced that they had bid $27 million. This is the highest posting price since the Orix BlueWave were paid $13.1 million by the Seattle Mariners for the rights to negotiate exclusively with Ichiro Suzuki.

Manny Acta Named Washington Nationals New Manager

Mets third base coach Manny Acta was named the new manager of the Washington Nationals. With Bud Black taking over the job in San Diego, that leaves just the Athletics who have yet to fill their coaching vacancy.

In other Nationals news, the team increased the size of its scouting department by adding 10 new scouts to their staff. The team also gave the team’s director of amateur scouting, Dana Brown, a contract extension. When the team was owned by the league, the Nationals had a very limited scouting budget and they couldn’t even afford to travel out of country to scout foreign players.

The biggest addition was Chuck LaMar, who will become the team’s special assistant to the general manager and national cross checker. LaMar was the general manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for 11 seasons.

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