Business of Baseball Reportby Brian Borawski
May 30, 2007
David Wright Cashes In On Glaceau SaleWhile the name Glaceau may not be easily recognizable, its vitaminwater product probably is. Vitaminwater is sold from coast to coast and the upstart non-carbonated beverage maker caught the eye of Coke, who agreed to buy Glaceau for $4.1 billion. It also caught the eye of some of the athletes who endorsed the product, because instead of taking cash to help market vitaminwater, the athletes chose to take shares in the company.
One of those players, who allegedly holds the largest stake in the company of any endorsing athlete, is David Wright. Darren Rovell recently reported that Wright’s share in the company is 0.5%. Based on the $4.1 billion sales price, that puts the payday for Wright in the neighborhood of $20.5 million, which would make it one of the largest endorsement deals ever.
MLB and the Baseball Channel NegotiationsWhen MLB’s Baseball Channel debuts in 2009, it will be the largest debut of any cable channel in existence. In a very well written article by Richard Sandomir, we get some details on how MLB got the deal for the channel done as well as some of the financial details of how MLB will cash in.
While the dollar figures are estimates, they’re also very impressive. Just the $80 million every year that the league will get from the Extra Innings deal will help pad the owners' pockets. Then there’s the $1.2 billion equity estimate of the deal that MLB has a two-thirds stake in that makes the entire package a very lucrative one.
What I found interesting was that baseball has been looking, at least in some capacity, to have an all-baseball channel since Peter Ueberroth was the commissioner back in 1987. It took 20 years, but the league finally sealed the deal.
Dayton Moore Making His Mark On the RoyalsDayton Moore celebrated his first year as the Kansas City Royals' general manager this week, and while the team is in its usual place (last), he’s definitely left his mark on the team. In an interesting profile by Sam Mellinger at The Kansas City Star, we see that Moore has made his share of trades but just as important, he’s paved the way in Latin America by establishing a new academy in the Dominican Republic. He also not only boosted the scouting staff, but he also added a minor league team to the Royals' affiliate system.
At this point, only time well tell how good of a general manager Moore will be for the Royals. He took some heat for signing Gil Meche to a five-year $55 million deal, but when it’s all said and done, with the money flying around these days, that may look like a bargain for any starting pitcher. He probably has a couple of years, but eventually, he’ll need to start showing results, namely getting the Royals out of the cellar.
A Walk Back In TimeThere were several interesting historical pieces this week with regard to the business of baseball. This LA Times story talks about what was at the time an unprecedented $205,000 signing bonus that was given to an amateur by the Angels. Then earlier this week was the 50th anniversary of the owners' meeting vote that allowed the Dodgers and Giants to relocate to the west coast. And then in a Baseball Prospectus interview with former Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon, there’s an interesting story of McKeon’s dealings with former Athletics owner Charlie Finley.
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.