Finally, a comprehensive article on the worst TV contract in baseball.
The good news? The Braves deal expires in 14 years, much sooner than we were previously led to believe.
The bad news? Most everything else.
For one, the Braves appear to be receiving less annually than has been reported.
The Braves deal, negotiated as the team was being sold by Time Warner to Liberty Media in 2007, is believed to be worth less than $20 million annually to the team. Some have said that figure is closer to $10 million annually, which would place it at the bottom of the major league scale. …
McGuirk didn’t provide specific dollar amounts on the Braves’ deal, but said neither the $10 million nor the $20 million figure was accurate. He did say it’s not a good deal going forward and that it included just a modest four-percent annual increase.
The Dodgers receive about $240 million per year. The Angels get $147 mil annually. Even the Astros and Pads’ contract dwarfs the Bravos: $80 and $60 mil, respectively.
According to McGuirk, there’s no getting out of it.
“There is no “out” clause. … That deal was an iron-clad deal,” he said. “We are constantly trying to figure ways to improve it. We’re pretty good at that, and that will be our job today, tomorrow and going forward. We are able to improve it now and then and you’ll hear about that as we do it.”
So who is responsible for this abomination?
“I’m not exactly sure whose final hands were on [the deal], but I’m pretty sure,” said McGuirk, who worked 35 years at TBS, rising to the rank of CEO from 1996-2001. “I think the guy is no longer with the company…. And I don’t know that it serves any purpose to put a bull’s eye on somebody.
“It was done simultaneously [when the team was being sold to Liberty]. It was to Turner’s advantage, obviously, to do it that way. They were parting with the team and they were able to structure a long-term relationship with Fox. If there was no deal it was far better for the team. But it is what it is. [The team] was bought with that in place. I know enough about the media business, I knew what we were working with and I just knew, that with the fullness of time, all these other elements of the [Braves] business were going to have to be stronger to compete.”
T-Mac said the Braves would not be severely hamstrung by the deal, though it sure ain’t going to help going forward.
McGuirk said he’s not worried because the organization is positioned to stay competitive by enhancing other revenues and maintaining a strong minor league system that’s produced a steady infusion of young talent such as current Braves Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons, Kris Medlen and Mike Minor.
Re-signing them is a different matter, but McGuirk pointed to the team’s advantage over most other teams in that Turner Field is paid for.