bloomberg

No, there’s nothing missing from the picture above. Well… apart from the bits that are cut off. Aaaaand the fact that it’s not at all interactive.

Look, it’s just a screen cap of part of the infographic released by Bloomberg yesterday that breaks down each MLB club’s value and their various revenue streams, and allows you to compare and contrast them. It’s pretty nifty!

So much so, in fact, that other outlets started reporting it. Sportsnet, for example. But a funny thing happened on the way to Sportsnet regurgitating Bloomberg’s breakdown of the Jays’ revenue streams…

You see, the thing that really stood out to me about the Jays’ section of the piece was that they ranked just 22nd in terms of revenue from media rights. Think about that for a second. None of the the other teams in the top ten in terms of the value of their relationship with their regional sports network (the Jays ranked fifth) ranked lower than that in terms of media rights revenue, and the Cubs and Astros– both deep in the throes of rebuilds– were the only others among those ten to rank outside the top 15.

Perhaps those two elements of the business aren’t necessarily related-enough to read too much into it without deeper knowledge of the relationship, but regardless, the low media rights revenue generated by the club– given that those rights are exclusively owned by a network owned by the same parent company as the club itself– seems kinda striking. And significant.

And yet, though it’s possible the omission is innocuous, while the Sportsnet piece on Bloomberg’s release explains the revenue stream breakdown, it doesn’t actually mention media rights by name. Instead, we’re told that Bloomberg “looked at revenue from ticket sales, sponsorships and real estate among other things [italics mine],” before it’s also written that concessions, parking, and revenue sharing dollars are also included in the breakdown. Literally the only component of the revenue breakdown not specifically noted is the media rights revenue. Think about that for a second.

The $65-million figure Bloomberg has come up with for that category, by the way, is equal to Oakland’s and Cincinnati’s, and well below the revenue received by Cleveland, for example. Think about that for a second. And while you’re at it, think about the number of TV viewers reached by the “regional” sports network the Jays are on, as opposed to those– or practically any– other ones.

Now, obviously being able to pay below-market media rights rates is precisely a major part of the reason Rogers bought the club in the first place, and it’s not like we didn’t already sorta know this stuff. I just found it funny that the Sportsnet piece would so completely avoid the subject, so I’ve decided to un-avoid it for them in whatever small way that I can.

While I’m at it, the club’s 25th-ranking in terms of dollars from sponsorships, much of which you’d think is also internal to Rogers, is probably pretty scandalous, too. That is, if you trust the figures Bloomberg has come up with. I’m not at all confident that you entirely should, but why should I let that stop me from once again questioning Rogers’ commitment to the club, amiright?

Comments (61)

  1. 44m in gate receipts based on the Jays attendance equals $17.34 per seat. That’s what a seat in 500 costs on a weekend or premium game, and there was always significantly more fans sitting downstairs than upstairs this year, paying far more per ticket. I call a tremendous bullshit on that figure, and think it should be closer to 65m, if not more.

    12m for concessions? That’s $4.73 per fan. Plausible, maybe, but the readers of this site alone should bring that average way up, and it seems low to me. I know I probably averaged at least double that for each game I attended, and that’s only because there were quite a few games where I didn’t buy anything. Otherwise my average would’ve been well over $15.

    And there’s no reason to even get into the TV rights because it’s blatantly obvious that Rogers Media severely underpays the Blue Jays for the rights. I really, really hope we don’t need to read about payroll parameters this winter, and that Rogers is ready to start playing with the big boys, as they should be.

    • Good point on the attendance stuff. I wondered about the concession figure, because I don’t know how the relationship with Aramark works, so maybe it’s plausible because of that, too.

      • Don’t forget that the ticket prices do have service fees built in which Bloomberg may have excluded, but it definitely still seems fishy. The average ticket price to a game should never approach the cheapest ticket price, that would be assuming the upper deck is full while the rest of the stadium is empty.

        The concessions price doesn’t make sense at all because I recall the Jays were something like Top 5 in the league for beer prices. And knowing prices for Canadian food there’s no way our concessions are the 26th cheapest in the league. The only explanation is that Rogers must have a terrible deal with Aramark.

        • something that might drop the average is the sale of season’s tickets and flex packs and such. i wouldn’t think there would be enough sold to drop approximately 20 million but it would certainly affect it.

          • How many fan passes are actually sold every year? All of those tickets which generate less than two dollars a seat help inflate attendance numbers but might bring that average down a decent amount.

          • Seasons in 500 are almost $7 per game. The cheapest seasons in 100 field level are $38 per game. Even if you remove 250k from the season attendance due to 3,000 fan passes you’re still at around $19 per ticket, which makes little sense and basically means everyone that attended a game was a season ticket holder.

      • Is it possible that the Fan Pass prices affected the average? They work out to ~$1.22+tax per game and last I spoke with a sales rep they said they release about 3000 of them a year.

      • We only did 14M more at the gate and Tampa? That doesn’t seem right.

      • Season ticket prices are a lot lower too. My upper deck seats cost me approximately $9 per game.

  2. Good piece. I enjoy articles that cover the financial side of sports. It’s very misunderstood, and if the fans actually became more knowledgeable they would understand how we’re being f*cked, even though we’re powerless to do much about it.

  3. So if the jays had another $100 mill in both sponsorship and media rights and thus their value is now north of $1B, how exactly does this change anything? This is nothing more than “every owner is incredibly wealthy” and if u are rich a major sports franchise is a no lose entity to own! The jays at a value of just under a billion $ and being owned by a company worth billions have no excuses as to not be able to spend with most anyone. How they get to the valuations may be the only thing open for interpratation.

    • The club talks about tying payroll to revenue, so that’s where it matters for us.

    • Exactly, Rogers threw out those payroll parameters a couple years ago. This shows the Jays seem to be a pretty healthy enterprise at the moment that should be able to invest a lot in players (and did last year to be fair).

  4. I see this as great news and exactly why we ought to be a top 10 spending team for a long time to come. There’s so much value in being a winning sports franchise in Toronto, I imagine the last major sport not to have imposed a salary cap will be the beneficiary.

  5. Good post.

  6. I like seeing these kind of rankings, especially like seeing how the Jays are valued higher then the Tigers and Cardinals. It makes it harder and harder for Rogers to eee and aaww over the dollar bills.

    • yup time for rogers to pony up

      • I guess I agree, but it’s hard to argue that Rogers didn’t pony up last off season.

        • They definitely did, but why should it be a one-time thing? They can certainly keep spending this winter, and should.

          • Exactly. As far as I’m concerned, Rogers just started doing last off season what they should have been doing all along. This is a team that should be a big payroll team trying to win virtually all the time. Rogers has been running it on the cheap for a long time and it’s way past due to stop that shit.

          • Oh I agree, they should keep spending, but until they don’t, it seems strange to criticize them for not doing so (which is how I took the ‘pony up’ comment. If that wasn’t a criticism, my apologies)

            • Fair enough. I’m just wary because we’ve been down this road before– payroll went way up in 2008, but then they cut the taps off. There were reasons, of course, but that coupled with the rumblings about fixing their needs through trade worries me. There really shouldn’t be as much of a need for that as it has sounded, because while Rogers certainly did right by the club last year, I don’t think they can just rest on that. You’re right, though, we won’t know until the end of the winter whether or not they actually did rest on it.

  7. It’s amazing what a turn around it’s been for the Jays over the last few years on the business side.

    Anyone remember Joe Cowley writing about how the Jays should move to Venezuela? Loads of (dumb) articles in the Canadian media connecting the Jays to the Expos? The worries were way overblown, but that was the narrative, anyway.

    Even though this current regime hasn’t accomplished too much on the field, the definitely seem to have gotten the team back in good order on the business side.

    • I remember listening to radio broadcasts in 2010 and they only had TWO sponsors for the national network: Home Hardware and Rogers, which really should count for half a sponsor. That list is bigger now, on TV and radio. It really is something.

      Also Cowley is a fucking disgrace for a human being (and journalist) and I’m not talking about his years of anti-Canada bullshit, go find the Deadspin articles.

    • Imagine what a a contending club would do to that business side.

  8. Are you kidding me? What source did these numbers come from there is no way in hell they are close to being right Attendance is a true measure and they are saying on average 2.5 million fans paid $17 a ticket last year based on their gate rev number cmon now really.

    • Feel free to actually back up your assertions…

      • There is a lot more to it than the revenue value divided by the attendance and then comparing that with what you assume to be all people who have bought regularly priced tickets. There are loads of tickets given away or sold at far lower prices than the prices people normally pay when they decide to watch a game and buy a ticket. All those people contribute to attendance but not to revenue.
        And the amount a fan pays may include a lot of costs that aren’t revenue, such as taxes and fees.
        Not saying I have the figures, but you can’t really assume a lot by the general prices for tickets in determining what the average really is.

  9. At home, I have a very basic cable package and my only sports network is TSN. Therefore, I never get to watch the games unless I go to a friend’s house (don’t have any), a bar (rare), streaming site (mediocre quality/US ads) or to the game live (4 games a year). I think it’s foolish to have the games broadcast only on Sportsnet.

    • God forbid you fork out the 5 dollars a month for SN.

    • Where do you want the games? CTV, Global?

      Sportsnet is basic cable, it comes with the most bare-bones-basic $35/month Rogers cable package, it’s got basically the same reach as TSN. It’s not like it’s some exotic channel in the mid-100s, be thankful that you don’t live in one of the cities where the MLB games are carried on some obscure premium channel that costs extra

  10. It’s weird that the Orioles are less valuable than the Angels and Phillies…

  11. My guess is that a baseball team has less options for tax loopholes than a media company does in this country. So might as well let the media side profit more (and then avoid taxes best you can).

    Everyone knows the interest in this team will disappear if next year doesn’t go much better than the last… 20 years.

    The biggest factor in all of this, that you keep mentioning, but that I think people miss, is that the old rev sharing model made it just as profitable to wallow in mediocrity.

  12. After going through every team, the only other team with a comparable attendance/gate revenue disparity is the Rockies (2.8M attendance vs. $46M gate). According to http://major-league-baseball-franchises.findthedata.org/compare/76-80/Colorado-Rockies-vs-Toronto-Blue-Jays, Rockies ticket prices are, on average, $4 less than Jays tickets (20.55 vs. 24.81).

    So, without getting into the details of flex packs and season tickets and whatnot, it seems like there’s definitely something up with these numbers

    • When I was dating a girl in Colorado we went to a Rockies game. The tickets were $7 each for buying shit at a grocery store. They were bleacher seats but where all the home runs are hit.

      Side note

      The game I saw was suppose to be a Cubs game with Gregg Maddox pitching. He got traded at the deadline just before that series and Carlos fucking Marmol made his mlb debut as a starter. The game was 9-8 with 2 grand slams

      The girl was smoking hot too. I miss her cause it would be awesome to see the broncos now and avalanche this year. Nothing better than having the big 4 sports in one city.

  13. Enlightening Indeed. Great Post.

  14. the #s are very suspicious. 5th highest regional sports network but 22nd media rights revenue. Rogers is definitively shafting the Blue Jays there. I also agree the gate revenue is very suspicious given the high ticket prices and the concession revenue is very low is well. Either they have a bad arrangement or the #s are wrong.

  15. MLB already said the next time the Blue Jays sign a new television contract, they will be watching to make sure that it’s market value and not discounted for Rogers… that little scam Sportsnet has is about to come to an end, which will equal more money for the Jays.

    • Bud Selig for commissioner!

      Er… wait, what?

      (Seriously, though, I don’t remember that, but they SHOULD have said that, because… obviously.)

    • Actually 34 % of local tv revenue is shared. The Jays ( Rogers) have every reason to under estimate their take. I’m sure MLB has auditors who monitor this type of thing.

      • I didn’t try too far to find it, but I do recall an old piece I saw somewhere recently that said that this is, indeed, the case, and that MLB is OK with Rogers’ formula when it comes to TV revenue. It was related to revenue sharing money, though– they didn’t want them to undersell the rights fees in order to reap more revenue sharing dollars. Since they still get it, I assume the auditors are still in place, but that doesn’t mean the number isn’t still low, either.

        • No doubt the true value of their media rights are significantly higher than the stated $65 million and I’m glad you’re shining some light on this situation.

          I guess another way to look at it is compare them to the Mets who get $ 120 million for their Media rights.

          The Mets like the Jays are a shitty team. The Mets own 65% of their local RSN., Sports Net NY. ( SNY is heavily leveraged by debt so as Wilpon can pay off his Bernie Maldoff debts). Rogers SportsNet is solely owned by Rogers.

          The Mets averaged 139,00 viewing households last season, the average American household is 2.6 individuals ( but obviously not all of them are watching TV at the same time). Let’s say they all were for sake of argument , that’s 361,00 individual viewers in 2013. We don’t have the Jays numbers yet, but they had 550,000 viewers last season, probably about 500,00-525,000 this year.

          The Mets RSN in 2012 had 268.4 million in Revenue. Rogers Sports Net ( including SportsNet 1) had 312 million in revenue ( when Sports Net 360 comes on board – and they do have a Blue Jays post game show, that’s another 60 million moving forward). Both RSN’s oddly enough, have about 9.3 million subscribers each .

          Yup something doesn’t add up here……

  16. the Concessions and ticket prices seem really off until I looked at one thing and all the teams in front of them Revenue sharing. Does anyone else find it odd they have the 12th best revenue sharing?

    • The Blue Jays under the new CBA have until 2016 for the revenue sharing teat to be cut off, it’s a hold over from the old Canadian dollar at 63 cents era.

      The other owners finally got wise to Rogers being a large market team and making out like bandits….

  17. Even if they did pay more for the rights wouldn’t they just be paying themselves anyways? It would just be moving cash from one pocket to the other

  18. A friend of mine is a security guard at the Dome and he said at the home opener the team can make almost 1 million dollars on beer alone, at 10 bucks a beer thats 2 for everyone in the stadium which is definitely not out of reach. So they make over 10% of the concessions in the first game on only beer sales.

    Am I miss reading the chart, is that profit or revenue?

    Even if it was an exaggeration and its more like $600,000 thats 5% of all concessions in beer in one game, something smells fishy.

    • I’m pretty sure it’s all contracted out to Aramark, though. Most of it, at least. There are certain food stands that aren’t Aramark, but I think the vast majority of the concessions are through them. Maybe that’s what they pay for the rights?

      I don’t know. Definitely seems like a weird number.

      • K, I just talked to my ‘source’ and he says Beer sales and concessions go under different sales headings and perhaps this survey is only talking about food sales, which would make the number meaningless.

    • I wonder if the number is actually right. Maybe the prices at the concessions are so high that sales are too low to keep up with the other teams? If so, I hope they learn from that.

  19. Rogers center is a poor place to watch a game. The location is great, but the facility is outdated, and the confession options are far below US stadiums. Until they make the experience better, it will be a struggle to attract the right fans.

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