BOB: Thanksgiving editionby Brian Borawski
November 21, 2012
News Corp to buy piece of YES NetworkMedia conglomerate News Corporation has agreed to buy a 49 percent equity stake in the YES Network, the New York Yankees regional sports network. As part of the deal, the Yankees have agreed to stay on the YES Network through the 2042 season and Fox will eventually have the option to increase its stake in the network to 80 percent. With the purchase, there's now speculation that News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch has his eyes on eventually buying the Yankees but current team owner Hal Steinbrenner says the team isn't up for sale.
The purchase price wasn't announced but if this CNBC story is accurate, the deal values the company at $3.8 billion,meaning News Corp's stake is a touch under $2 billion. With 18 other regional sports networks under its ownership, there's also been some speculation that an ESPN-like national cable sports network might be coming soon.
Miami Marlins trade falloutThe Miami Marlins' mega-trade with the Toronto Blue Jays is in the books and now we get to examine some of the fallout. You can say what you want about the deal (yes, the Marlins dumped a ton of salary but some of those deals weren't great ones anyway) but Field of Schemes thinks it could hamper every other team that's currently looking for a new stadium. This will be more prevalent for the Tampa Bay Rays because of their proximity but for now, if an owner says he's going to make the team better when he gets a new ballpark, it's going to be tough to believe.
The players' union is also going to be keeping an eye on the Marlins. In 2010, the Marlins agreed to increase their payroll annually as they prepared to move into its new ballpark this past season. Now payroll is back down (way down) and the union wants to make sure the Marlins aren't violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement by having their payroll less than the required 125 percent their revenue sharing receipts.
Tampa says it can afford a major league ballparkA local chamber of commerce concluded that the Tampa Bay area can afford a new baseball stadium as long as you buy some of its assumptions. It looks like the chamber is being a little optimistic on its construction costs and while the group says it can do it without taxing the local residents, the money is going to have to come from somewhere. In all, the chamber estimates the new ballpark would cost $500 million but that sounds low for a roofed ballpark.
Some of the ways a new stadium could be financed include an increase in the sales tax, a new auto rental surcharge and additional tourist taxes. The estimates also figure that the Tampa Bay Rays would pony up 20 to 40 percent of the cost of the stadium. Since the Rays aren't allowed to talk about a new ballpark, they simply thanked the group for presenting its findings. Still, the $500 million estimate doesn't include land costs, parking garages and infrastructure so that could cause a hitch in coming up with the right amount of money.
Miller Park improvements on the wayThe Milwaukee Brewers announced that they will be making improvements to Miller Park for the 2013 season. These improvements include renovating the Dew Deck, which is the seating area right above the right field bleachers. The plan is to add a 25-foot climbing wall in the shape of a Mountain Dew can and it will be open before game time for the fans. The team will also be adding new lighting, ceilings and flat-panel televisions to the area.
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.