#Braves 25: The Time Warner TV dealmaker

We don’t know his name, but his impact on the team can’t be overstated.

Back in 2007, as the team was being sold to Liberty Media, Time Warner was negotiating a new TV deal for the Braves, although benefiting the team was the least of the Evil Empire’s concerns.

“It was to Turner’s advantage, obviously, to do it that way,” said Braves CEO Terry McGuirk. 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.”

The deal, believed to be worth between $10 million and $20 million (closer to the former) annually, pales in comparison to the $240 million per year the Dodgers receive per year, or the the 25-year, $2.5 billion contract inked by the Phils last year. The Braves were able to rework the contract to the tune of $500 million over the length of the deal, originally set to expire in 2027. Liberty’s CEO would not say whether more years were added.

The most generous estimate puts the annual outlay in the mid-$50 million range, which would still rank below teams such as the Astros ($80 million per) and Padres ($60 million per). How much money the new stadium will generate remains to be seen. One wonders if the team would be moving to Cobb had they not been sabotaged by the Time Warner tool, or abandoned by Major League Baseball, which allows corporate ownership.

The damage to the Braves isn’t fatal, but they’ll have to be creative to compete. Big-ticket free agents are out of reach, and we’ll soon learn whether the Braves will be able to retain one of their young cornerstones. I suspect Heyward will be playing elsewhere in 2016, if not before.

Thanks for nothing, Time Warner.


#Braves find $500 mil but won’t bite the bullet on Uggla

The good news: The onerous TV deal is no longer quite so onerous.

Changes in the Braves’ local television deals will generate about $500 million in additional revenue for the team “over the life of the contracts,” the chief executive of Braves owner Liberty Media revealed today.

The TV deals were reworked last year, but Liberty CEO Greg Maffei, speaking on a quarterly conference call with Wall Street analysts, shed new light on the financial significance of the changes.

“Through some good work at the management of the Braves and a confluence of events, we were able to renegotiate positively a bunch of those (TV) rights and receive probably in the order of $500 million of incremental revenue over the life of the contracts,” Maffei said. “So that’s been very positive. … That adds a lot of value, even on a present value basis, to the Braves.”

Maffei said the Braves’ TV deals originally ran through 2027, but he didn’t say how long the renegotiated deals run.

The bad news: Frank Wren might use the money on other ill-considered contract extensions. In a related item, The Oafbatross ain’t going anywhere anytime soon, reporteth Bowman.

After spending time this week evaluating the financial consequences, the Braves have moved away from the thought of releasing Uggla. But this decision does not necessarily provide clear indication of who might serve as their primary second baseman over the remainder of the season.

If the Braves released Uggla, they would still be responsible for the approximate $24 million he is owed through the end of the 2015 season. While the perspective might change over the next few weeks or months, it does not appear the club is comfortable with eating this large sum of money. But the Braves are every bit as uneasy about the prospect of remaining patient with Uggla, who has batted .185 with a .655 OPS in the 266 games he has played since June 1, 2012.

So the Braves would rather waste a roster spot than admit they screwed up? Uggla gets paid either way, and as long as he’s in Atlanta, Tommy LaStella won’t be.

Knowing Fredi, he’ll probably start using the Oafbatross as a defensive replacement. Blame FW when that happens.

Bring me the head of the Time Warner suit who screwed the Braves for a generation

The Phils just inked a 25-year, $2.5 billion TV deal, which will give them roughly $75 million more in annual revenues than the Braves receive from their crappy contract with Fox.

I’d really like to know exactly who in the Time Warner clusterfuck negotiated the Braves deal. Shouldn’t they be held accountable for screwing the team — and shouldn’t Bud’s minions have prevented it, for the sake of competitive balance?

Never mind. I forgot that corporate fuck-ups are never held accountable.

Turner’s loss is the Braves’ gain

For the first time since I became a fan, there will be no Braves games on a Turner station.

The 45 Braves games that have been televised locally on Turner Broadcasting’s Peachtree TV in recent seasons  will move to Fox Sports South and SportSouth this year.  …

Neither the Braves nor Fox would reveal terms of the deal. But the Braves acknowledged it will somewhat improve their local TV revenue, which has been a source of concern because of long-term contracts signed before a recent explosion in rights fees.

Alas, there will be more Chip.

Details of Braves horrible TV contract finally emerge

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.

Braves TV deal worse than we thought

The LA Times reports the Dodgers will receive $240 to $280 million per year for local broadcasting rights.

According to DOB, the Braves take in roughly $20-to-$25 million annually from their local TV rights — a deal Jeff Passan calls “the sport’s worst television contract,” negotiated as “a term of its sale” from Time Warner to Liberty Media.

A sale that was approved by Hapless Bud. Remember where to direct the blame when Jay Hey, Freddie and Med Dog are playing elsewhere a few years from now.

The deal doesn’t expire for another 20 years. God knows what shape the Braves will be in then.