Apr 26, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Detailed view of Atlanta Braves hat and glove in the dugout against the Cincinnati Reds in the third inning at Turner Field. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves “reworked” TV deals could mean $500 million for club


According to a report from Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta Braves may be on the good side of $500 million. Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, sated that TV deals were reworked last year. With this, the club stands to gain as much as $500 million in revenue.

Tucker states that in a conference call with analysts from Wall Street, Maffei noted that there have been a fortunate series of events that led to these rights be reworked. One was the praise he heaped on Braves management. Another is the new stadium deal.

What might be hard to fathom is in this day and age, everyone involved was able to keep this hush-hush.

Here’s more from Maffei (via Tucker):

“The Braves have done many things well over the last few years,” Maffei said. “They have not been a cash consumer. They have not been an enormous payroll company. They have created a great product with a controlled payroll, and accordingly have been a profitable team.

And let’s look at a couple of things here.

First, the Braves and their payroll. On only three occasions has their Opening Day payroll exceeded $100 million. One such occasion is this year in which the club set a record for Opening Day payroll at roughly $112 million. Imagine if the team had not had to go and snag Ervin Santana at a cost of 14.1 million. It would be below $100 million yet again.

As far as profits are concerned, in the most recent Forbes MLB team valuations, the Braves are being shown an operating income of $38.4 million, ranking them 4th among all clubs in that category. They are listed as baseball’s 11th most valuable franchise with a value of $730 million.

Second, the Braves aren’t exactly bottom feeders of their division. Sure, last year was the first time they had won the NL East since 2005, but recall what the Braves did from 1991-2005. They won the division 14 of 15 seasons. Call it the Bobby Cox effect, if you will. Cox kind of had them spoiled down there. But winning can add value to a franchise, especially if it’s consistent.

It should be noted that during this conference call, Maffei did not state when these deals now expire, but the original was to expire in 2027. When previous owner Time Warner worked the agreements, it was quickly noted that they were below what the club could have and should have earned. Liberty has seemingly corrected that measure.

Good thing, too. The team will have a fair amount of payroll on its hands within the next few years. With the deals provided to Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran, Andrelton Simmons, Chris Johnson, and Craig Kimbrel, Tucker states those contracts will cost the team $203.8 million guaranteed after 2017. In total, they will see the club dish out over $290 million to those same players.

(Call to David O’Brien via Twitter)

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