For years, diehard fans of the Atlanta Braves have lamented the lack of payroll spending on players. Liberty Media, who owns the team, has “capped” spending throughout their tenure in power, and as a result of what is perceived as a highly unfortunate (to be kind) local television contract, things were seemingly stagnant in player salaries.
This season, however, the Braves were able to push into the stratosphere a bit in order to sign right-hander Ervin Santana during Spring Training while working out contract extensions for players like Freddie Freeman (the big one) and Craig Kimbrel. Now, there is some clarity on what appears to be an influx of revenue.
Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Thursday that the Braves are set to receive up to $500 million in additional television revenue in the coming years.
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.”
In addition to that revelation, Tucker’s report links the new revenue (at least in part) to the decision to move to a new stadium in Cobb County. Greg Maffei was quoted as saying:
“And most recently the actions that they are taking to create the new stadium and the complex around it … are going to create a lot of value for the Braves. So that asset has gone up quite nicely in value over the last several years, and I expect the completion of the stadium will continue that trend.”
Frankly, this is a gigantic win for the organization and the fan base, and it should go a long way toward ensuring that the Atlanta Braves franchise can stay competitive in bidding for players. The financial details are seemingly a bit aggressive (i.e. the $500 million number) after some digging, but even if the advances are modest, the much-maligned TV deal has been overhauled in a positive way.