Business of Baseball Report.by Brian Borawski
February 14, 2007
Braves Sale Goes to League Office
Time Warner and Liberty Media came to an agreement on Monday that would finalize the sale of the Atlanta Braves to the Colorado based media conglomerate. In exchange for 60 million shares of Time Warner stock, Liberty Media will get the Braves, a craft magazine and $1 billion in cash. The sale has dragged out for over a year due to the tax complexities surrounding the deal. Things now move to MLB and we’ll have to wait and see whether the other owners approve the deal or not.
Appalachian League to Play With Nine Teams
I’ve touched on this in past columns, but the Appalachian League has now come to terms with the fact that they’ll be playing with only nine teams. A schedule hasn’t been released, but it should be interesting to see how they accommodate having one team off at all times. Expect a lot of two game series, which means more travel. It seems the short season league has fallen out of favor, while more teams head south to the Gulf Coast League, where teams can utilize their spring training facilities.
Devil Rays Considering Name Change in 2008
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays may play in St. Petersburg, but they’ll still use Tampa Bay in their team's name. The team is considering shortening their name to just the Tampa Bay Rays. The team will keep blue as their primary color, but expect to see some yellow accents in the new logo, which is set to come out once the 2007 is finished.
Life of a Groundskeeper
Nicole Sherry, who will take over as the head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, is only the second woman to hold the post in the major leagues. In a recent interview, Sherry discusses how time consuming her job is, as well how she “moved up from the minors” to get the major league job. This is one those functions that you don’t think about too much, but is pretty important, and the interview is a great read.
Even More on the DirecTV/MLB Television Deal
While Maury Brown discusses some of the fan complaints that he’s run across in a recent Ledger Domain, Ben Silverman is speculating that the deal between DirecTV and MLB may be because MLB could once again be looking to spin off MLB Advanced Media and take the company public. He speculates that taking Extra Innings off of cable will push more people towards MLB.tv, which will increase the value of MLBAM.
Taking MLBAM public was thrown around in 2005, but the league balked because they’d have to open up their books. Rather then cashing in, they choose privacy instead.
New Twins Ballpark Hits Snag
The Minnesota Twins are hoping to break ground next month on their new stadium, but there’s one minor roadblock. Hennepin County, which brokered the deal that will help fund the construction, still hasn’t purchased the land where the stadium is going to be built. The current owners of the land are holding out for more money and the county doesn’t want to seize the land through eminent domain because it would take too long.
Infrastructure costs are capped at $90 million, which includes the purchase of the land. If the land cost runs too high, then there won’t be enough money to modify the roads and make other stadium improvements. The owners of the land have said they’ll lease it to the county, but that idea was shot down. It should be pretty interesting to see how it turns out.
Nashville Sounds Delay Stadium Opening
The Nashville Sounds, the Milwaukee Brewers Triple-A affiliate, recently announced they’ll have to push back the opening of their new ballpark from 2008 to 2009. At issue is some property tax money that the developer, Streuver Brothers, is looking to obtain to build up the area surrounding the prospective stadium. Until the money is there, everything is on hold, so the team has decided to push everything back a season.
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.