Does corporate ownership of sports teams ever work?
In trying to figure out the reasoning behind the local TV contract, I can’t help but wonder if the Braves were used as a bargaining chip between Fox and Time Warner, which have been involved in numerous carriage disputes over the years. “We’ll give you cheap programming if you lower the carriage fees.” Yes, the Braves will suffer but that will be some other corporation’s problem.
You got a better theory?
This is why corporate ownership of sports teams is a bad idea. The NFL doesn’t allow it. MLB currently has three corporate owners: Nintendo (Mariners), Rogers Communications (Blue Jays) and Liberty. In recent years, Tribune, Disney and Fox owned, respectively, the Cubs, Angels and Dodgers. Number of championships: Zero.
Of course that’s not the only barometer to measure whether corporate ownership is good or bad, but when a conglomerate’s interests merge, such as in broadcasting, it’s easy to see how teams can be treated as pawns to enrich the bottom line.
It didn’t have to be this way. Bud has the authority to block anyone from purchasing a team, but he’d rather use that veto power on someone like Mark Cuban. And so the Braves have become just another corporate holding, subject to all that entails.
We’ve yet to see the worst of it, but the handwriting is on the wall. In large, block letters. Let’s remind Bud of that when his farewell tour makes its way to Atlanta this season.