Business of Baseball Reportby Brian Borawski
May 23, 2007
Marlins Fail to Get Stadium Funding...Again
For the sixth time in eight years, the state of Florida failed to grant a $60 million sales tax rebate that would have paved the way for a new stadium for the Florida Marlins. The bill passed the Florida House rather easily, but when it came to the Senate, the bill never reached the floor as the Senate adjourned its session on May 4, 2007.
Last year, the Marlins made overt threats of relocation and even had a deal offered to them by San Antonio before a deadline to make a decision came and went. With the focus back on a stadium in Miami, the team, county and city all hoped this would be the year but once again, they just fell short.
In the meantime, it looks like there is some consideration for Miami-Dade County to try to go it alone to help the Marlins fund a stadium through a hotel and sports facilities tax. There’s also speculation that as part of the deal, the Marlins would change their name to the Miami Marlins and then also hold their spring training nearby at Homestead ballpark once their current lease is up at Roger Dean Stadium in 2017.
And in this column by Nate Silver, there's a good layout of which cities would be the best spots if the Marlins were to think about relocation. The top city is kind of interesting because you don't hear it come up too much. Number two makes a ton of sense and makes for a very interesting story. I'd love to read the John Brattain column the week that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria moves a team back into Montreal.
Atlanta Braves Sale Finalized
It took about a year and a half, but the sale of the Atlanta Braves by Time Warner finally happened. In a complex tax deal that’s explained here by Maury Brown, Time Warner gave up the team and other assets for a large chunk of stock from Liberty Media. Because of the tax implications, the deal had to be finalized by May 16, which was when the sale was announced. The final sales price for the team was $450 million and not only will the front office remain in place, but current home run king Hank Aaron will play a larger role with the team.
Yankees Look to Void Jason Giambi’s Contract Because He Did “Stuff”
Last week, Jason Giambi called for the league to apologize for its role in the steroid controversy that currently surrounds the league. In his statement, he said he was “wrong for doing that stuff” and while the league is looking to meet with Giambi about his statements, the Yankees are looking into the possibility of voiding his contract if he was using performance-enhancing drugs since joining the team in 2001.
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. On the one hand, the Yankees need all the help they can get with their deficit in the division, and you wonder if there’d be rumors like this if Giambi were hitting the ball well. On the other, Giambi is due $21 million in 2008 and it’s unlikely that he’ll be worth that much so even cutting things a year short would help out the payroll.
Kauffman Stadium Renovations Unveiled
On Monday, the Kansas City Royals unveiled their $250 million renovation plan for Kauffman Stadium that will take place over the next few years. The renovations include everything from a new scoreboard to an outfield concourse that will allow the fans to walk completely around the stadium. A new fountain and widened concourses on all three levels of the stadium are also planned.
The first phase of the renovations will be completed by opening day 2008 and will include new bullpens as well as expanded dugouts. Then for the two years following that, more renovations will be phased in prior to each season’s opening day.
Athletics Finalize Land Purchase For New Stadium
The Oakland Athletics completed the purchase of the land that will be used to build their new stadium, Cisco Field in Fremont, Calif. In all, 226 acres were purchased and this land will not only be the location of the stadium, but also the ballpark village that is part of the plan. The hope is for the Athletics to play their first game in Cisco Field in 2011.
Minor League Business of Baseball
Baseball America news editor Josh Leventhal recently started a blog on the business of Minor League Baseball. It’s just one more great resource if you’re looking for information on the business of the game.
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.