BOB: Bud gets an extension, and MASN wins in courtby Brian Borawski
January 24, 2008
Bud Selig gets contract extension
MLB owners voted unanimously to extend Bud Selig’s contract through the 2012 season. The press release spelled out a lot of the good things that have gone on during Selig’s reign, but conspicuous by their absence are any negatives. Regardless, and you can say what you want, Selig has reigned over what has turned into a golden age of baseball, with attendance and league revenue at all-time highs. I guess everyone has their own opinion as to whether Selig had a hand in all of the good that has happened, or whether he was simply in the right place at the right time.
Time Warner dealt blow by arbitrator
An arbitrator decided earlier this week that Time Warner Cable discriminated against Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), a regional sports network (RSN) owned jointly by MLB and Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos. At issue was that Time Warner carried MASN in North Carolina only on their digital package whereas similar RSNs (including Time Warner’s own) were carried on the cable company’s analog package.
The decision was reached only three weeks after a December 17 hearing, and the conclusions were strongly worded in favor of MASN. Now the big issue is whether Time Warner carries the network on its basic cable package or puts it on a sports tier.
Sarasota County drags feet on stadium
The Cincinnati Reds spring training situation is even murkier than it was last week because Sarasota County deferred a decision on a remodeling plan for Ed Smith Stadium. The five-member commission put off a vote on the $17.6 million funding plan indefinitely, though they did vote 3-2 to continue discussions on the matter. The logjam is that a positive outcome requires a 4-1 vote and two of the five commissioners are opposed to the plan.
In the meantime, the competing facility in Goodyear, Arizona, is looking more and more lucrative. The Reds visited the $75 million facility, and you’d think it would be the frontrunner if the Reds decide to leave Sarasota after the 2009 season. The Indians will be playing spring ball in Goodyear in 2009, but the portion set aside for a second team won’t be ready until 2010.
Nationals Park still faces parking woes
Washington, D.C.’s City Council’s Committee on Economic Development held a roundtable on parking and traffic issues concerning Nationals Park. As expected when dealing with politicians, not a whole lot got resolved; blogger Jacqueline Dupree summarized the happenings. At the meeting, it was finally determined who would be dealing with traffic issues—namely, the District Department of Transportation—but unfortunately the department didn’t have a representative at the meeting.
Cubs sale not happening anytime soon
Crane Kenney, the Chicago Cubs’ senior vice president, recently announced that the Cubs most likely wouldn’t be sold until at least midseason or possibly later. The thing that’s holding up the sale is that the Tribune Company, the business that owns the Cubs, wants to first sell Wrigley Field. Sam Zell, who owns Tribune, wants to sell the historic ballpark to the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, a state agency that already owns U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox.
Entertaining in the minors
More than any other sports teams, Minor League Baseball teams seem to go to great lengths to provide fun, family-oriented entertainment. In a very interesting profile, SRO Productions president Jon Terry talks about how he provides entertainers to teams for promotions and also discusses how he got started in the business. He points out that, although he provides entertainers for a wide variety of sports, it’s Minor League Baseball that keeps him in business.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.