The Braves are now worth $1.15 billion, up 58 percent in just one year and two-and-a-half times what the club was worth when Liberty Media acquired it in 2007. Hooray, Liberty! I’m sure the Cobb County taxpayers footing a big chunk of the bill for the new ball yard are popping champagne corks while they’re stuck on I-75 today.
Not many things appreciate 58 percent in a year, or 155 percent in eight years. (The S&P 500 went up 13.5 percent last year, and that’s a damn good year.) A 58 percent jump in a year is 2005 Miami condo-like. Except the Braves’ value might well keep climbing, albeit not quite as rapidly as it did over the past year. Liberty’s CEO Greg Maffei–you know, the guy we see at all the games, riding the emotional roller coaster along with all us fans–said a few months back that the new Cobb stadium/mall would boost the club’s value. Dude knows business.
And his emotional attachment to the Braves is palpable. Just look at these quotes from an investor conference call last month:
“I don’t think we have a need to monetize (by selling the team). I don’t think we have a current plan to monetize. We remain very happy with (the Braves’ financial) prospects…..We’re pleased; we continue to move forward there; we’re happy to see the value creation. And go Braves,” Maffei said.
Sounds just like vintage Ted Turner, doesn’t it?
Anyhow, the Braves, according to Forbes, are the 12th most valuable MLB franchise. You wouldn’t know it from this offseason’s transactions, though. And at $1.15 billion, the team now represents 9 percent of Liberty’s total market value of $13 billion.
So there’s that.
Moving on, among the revelations I’ve gained from the flagship radio station’s beat reporter this spring:
Jason Grilli really liked Pittsburgh. But he really likes Atlanta now, and a two-year contract here will make him even more comfortable.
Grilli, AJ Pierzynski, Gomes, Markakis, –am I forgetting any other old retreads?–are solid veterans who lead by example. Grilli and AJ have taken young Braves pitchers and catchers under their wings and are sharing all kinds of wisdom.
Speaking of wings and being taken under them, the team chemistry is terrific, unlike last year. This club has really come together quickly and they all love each other.
Kevin Seitzer is having great success and the Braves are going to manufacture runs and cut down on the strikeouts. Did you know they scored 14 runs with just one strikeout in a recent practice game!?!?!?
Mike Foltynewicz is trying too hard to impress his new team. And, you know, Grilli and Markakis, et al, even though they’re veterans, also have to find their place on a new team.
Freddie Freeman can hit.
Fredi Gonzalez likes the makeup of his team.
Markakis has been killing the ball in BP.
OK. Seriously, I actually find myself becoming a little more optimistic about the season. It’s mainly just fandom, I suspect, but when predictions are nearly unanimous they tend to be wrong. Don’t they? Sometimes? Maybe Jace Peterson will hit .280 and steal 30 bases. He’s a decent prospect, so we’ll see. Maybe Minor will only miss a few starts. Perhaps Jim Johnson and Grilli will find their stuff. It’s certainly happened. Perhaps Simmons really will shorten his swing. Chris Johnson might hit .300 again. And maybe platoons in left and center field will produce.
We’ll start finding out soon enough. Thanks for reading, and go Braves!