According to Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Blue Jays received $36 million from Rogers Sportsnet in annual fees as their regional broadcaster last season. By comparing this figure to recent regional television deals in other markets and comparing the off season transactions of the franchises in those markets with the moves that the Toronto Blue Jays made, Mr. Dowbiggin connotes something devious in the disparity between these fees.

I use the term “connotes” because the title of the column is “How the Blue Jays dropped the ball,” and yet the wrongdoing that the byline refers to is never actually articulated.  Instead, it’s inferred by the structure of Mr. Dowbiggin’s column which reads like a meandering undergraduate essay that likely could’ve benefitted from an additional conference or two with a teaching assistant.

Two very well written recent articles, one appearing in Baseball Prospectus, the other in USA Today, properly describe the changing financial landscape in parts of baseball. A sport, whose franchises have for years relied on gate receipts to finance its large payrolls, is now witnessing certain teams turning to the offerings of regional television networks to subsidize large free agent contracts. These two pieces cite the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim signing Albert Pujols and the Texas Rangers bidding for the rights to Yu Darvish and agreeing to a contract with him as apt examples, with both organizations set to receive a large financial boost via long-term television deals.

It’s easy to see such deals and imagine that the television networks to be some sort of benefactor to the baseball team. After all, the broadcast partners are supplying franchises with an almost immediate increase in cash flow. However, television networks are a business as well. As Maury Brown describes for The Biz of Baseball, the recent spate of long term regional television contracts are seen as a means of making money for the networks.

Broadcast partners are gambling that by locking in deals over a long stretch, they will actually come out ahead. That means longer stretches as clubs come up for renewal. What may seem like a windfall now, could be actually less than expected in the future.

In this sense, the long term television contracts being signed right now are much like the long term free agent contracts that they subsidize. The value may be realized immediately by the team, but that dynamic will shift over the life of the deal, with the other party benefitting from the contract as it nears its end.

However, as television rights pertain to the Blue Jays, this makes little difference. They’re owned by the same entity that owns the network that broadcasts their games. Because of this situation, the league monitors the fees paid from the television entity to the baseball entity to ensure that the Blue Jays don’t take advantage of MLB’s revenue sharing policies by limiting their income.

Mr. Dowbiggin begrudgingly admits as much in his article:

According to sources, the Blue Jays roughly adhere to the formula provided by MLB in its TV payments to the club.

Also mentioning that “many MLB teams own all or a part of the network that broadcasts their games,” including the Yankees and Red Sox. But here’s the vital point that’s somewhat glossed over by Mr. Dowbiggin:

Market competition still guarantees those teams a windfall on their rights, while there is no competition for the Jays rights.

Despite this admission from Mr. Dowbiggin, the writer attempts to paint a picture of the Blue Jays market as being ripe for baseball, further implying that the current market should justify a larger price tag for Rogers Sportsnet.

The Greater Toronto market is the seventh largest in major-league baseball. However, under MLB criteria, all of Canada is protected Blue Jays territory, and on that basis Toronto arguably plays in the largest market by population and territory.

What’s not mentioned here is that parts of the East Coast are shared with the Boston Red Sox, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are shared with the Minnesota Twins, and Alberta and British Columbia are shared with the Seattle Mariners.

Even more important than examining what constitutes a team’s protective territory, is the unlikelihood of the Blue Jays receiving more than $36 million annually on the open market. Yes, the current price that Rogers Sportsnet pays for baseball content from the Blue Jays compares unfavourably with the new deals being signed, not only in Arlington and Anaheim, but also the coming agreements in San Diego, Los Angeles and Houston in the near future.

However, the disparity has far more to do with the lack of competitiveness for television rights in their regional market than it does the stinginess of Rogers. This is the entire purpose behind MLB monitoring the regional rights for teams and networks that have a synergetic relationship based on mutual ownership. Can Mr. Dowbiggin suggest with a straight face that there’s a network in Canada that would be willing to pay more than what the Toronto Maple Leafs earn through regional television rights?

Granted, only two thirds of the Maple Leafs games are broadcast regionally, and they too are dealing with similar ownership issues, but the annual cost that Rogers Sportsnet and TSN share for those rights would have to be multiplied by three before they would match what the regional FOX Sports networks have individually agreed to pay the Angels and Rangers.

Nonetheless, Mr. Dowbiggin argues the following:

In theory, by helping the team boost payroll to become more competitive, ratings, attendance and merchandise sales would all increase.

There exists a belief among many Blue Jays supporters that the team hasn’t done enough on the free agent market, and that their unwillingness to spend is hindering the team from being more competitive. Exploiting this sentiment is an easy way to rally those sharing this narrow view point and garner some page views, but it’s ultimately a misleading and inaccurate theory.

The strategy that Mr. Dowbiggin outlines above is one that puts the cart before the horse, and ignores the reality of the situation. Yes, the Rangers have what appears to be a lucrative television deal in place, but this isn’t a team that’s making wild investments in talent in order to build a winner. They’re already there. They’ve been to the World Series twice in the last two years. The Blue Jays are a combined four games above .500 over the last two seasons.

I’ve written about this before, but let’s revisit how Texas came to increase their payroll and actually use the money that they earned in their latest television deal. In 2008, the Rangers ranked 21st in payroll and 25th in attendance. In 2009, the team moved ahead into 19th in payroll and 18th in attendance. Then, in 2010, the team went all the way to the World Series on a payroll that ranked 28th in baseball, while drawing the 14th most amount of fans to its games. In 2011, the team returned to the World Series on a payroll that last year ranked 13th in the league, while drawing the 10th most amount of fans to its games.

Patience in using its money as a means of rewarding fans, rather than drawing fans has worked out well incredibly well for the Rangers, both on and off the field.

However, Mr. Dowbiggin remains concerned over the Blue Jays regional television income, giving the following foolish warning of a non-existant repercussion:

If they fall further behind their MLB competition in TV rights revenue, the Blue Jays will need to go to their corporate owners on a per-occasion basis to sign a superstar such as Jose Bautista or Roy Halladay.

Right, because Jerry DiPoto didn’t speak with Arte Moreno before offering Albert Pujols a ten year contract worth $240 million. Nor did Jon Daniels have any discussions with Nolan Ryan about spending $108 million to acquire Yu Darvish.

Imagining this to be the case is simply unrealistic.

The amount of money that Rogers Sportsnet pays for Blue Jays broadcast rights will have little impact on the team’s pursuit of free agents or extending the contracts of its current talent base in the future. Far more important is the team’s performance, which if successful, will lead to increased attendance and increased value in television rights. Let’s not forget how the Blue Jays came to hold MLB’s highest payroll when it won back to back World Series championships.

  • 1985: 5th in attendance; 18th in payroll.
  • 1986: 5th in attendance; 10th in payroll.
  • 1987: 4th in attendance; 17th in payroll.
  • 1988: 6th in attendance; 6th in payroll.
  • 1989: 1st in attendance; 7th in payroll.
  • 1990: 1st in attendance; 13th in payroll.
  • 1991: 1st in attendance; 19th in payroll.
  • 1992: 1st in attendance; 1st in payroll.
  • 1993: 2nd in attendance; 1st in payroll.

Once again, the changing landscape in baseball as affected by regional television rights isn’t of the “one size fits all” variety. According to Maury Brown:

Increases in rights fees will continue as deals are renewed, but it will depend on the designated market size, performance of the team in the standings, ad revenues, ratings, etc.

Comments (49)

  1. My mom was college roommates, or something, with Dowbiggin’s wife and when I was a baby I was apparently in their house.

    I hope I puked on something.

  2. c’mon parkes, rogers/blue jays financials are a joke. what occasioned this about-face from 2 days ago? Were you able to find where they put the $30 of “customer service” they include in each jersey?

  3. Parkes – maybe you’re the one who needs a conference or two with a teaching assistant, who might enlighten you as to the meaning of the word “benefactor”.

    “the other party becoming the benefactor of the contract as I nears its end.”

    • This article contains over 1500 words and you find it useful to be nit picking over the use of one of them?

  4. What the writer fails to acknowledge with respect to the Rangers is their near bankruptcy a few years back. The Rangers had to be sold. A consortium led by Nolan Ryan bought the team and their fortunes turned. So, ostensibly the Rangers’ strategy was a bust until Ryan took over. It is since then that team has added payroll and begun to perform at a higher level.

    • Sure. But Parkes doesn’t even bring up pre current rangers ownership.

      • But that’s the point. The Rangers aren’t an example of a team that didn’t invest money in the team,until they started winning and an investment was therefore justified, they’re an example of a team that couldn’t spend money before they started winning.

        • bang on. Poor example by Parkes. What is it with all the big bloggers dickriding Rogers this offseason? Its almost like you think Rogers has their hands in the blogger cookie jar…

  5. This is also pretty meandering. It still isn’t terribly clear to me what the Jays earn revenue-wise on the television front. Are we seriously saying the Jays market is worth 36 million/year while Texas pulls in 150/year and San Diego pulls in 75/year? If that’s not the case, then what is?

    Pointing to the lack of market competition for the Jays broadcasting rights doesn’t make sense to me. In the case where the network and team are different ownerships, the team will obviously benefit will from the competition of multiple networks to drive up the price of any broadcasting deal. But where a single entity owns both network and team, then the lack of market competition just means dollars saved on the network side of things. After all, as you note, the networks are paying out big dollars because they can make money doing so. Where Rogers owns the team, and they don’t have to pay out big dollars to acquire the rights, the lack of market competition helps the broadcasting bottom line as much as it hurts the team’s.

    • exactly, comparing rogers and the rangers’ is like comparing a mom and pop resto with mcdonalds – maybe they both serve food (empahsis on maybe), but the businesses are quite different and neither should look to each other for how to operate.

    • Having said all that, I don’t think the Jays necessarily dropped any ball. I’m fine with their stand pat approach for now, so long as money is available next summer and the year after when the Jays start to actually field a competitive team.

      Still, I do want some clarity on what the team is actually worth on the television front. It strikes me that comparing tv deals is the only way to really do it. And it’s bizarre that the Jays are worth only a 36 million/year tv deal (if that is the accurate figure).

      Also, and on a side note, I don’t know that the analogy to free agent contracts really works. All that is happening in the case of the tv deals is trading higher potential earnings at the end of the contract for guaranteed earnings all the way through. In the case of free agent contracts, teams pay big dollars for value up front, knowing they won’t get value down the road, because that’s the only way they can land the player at all. There isn’t the same element of managing risk.

      • it’s hard to hate on “ifs” and “buts” – i’m on board with the hope that the jays become a “sustainable” club that competes with the yankees and red sox…but, logically, they won’t last long if they’re only planning on spending 2/3 as much as them EVEN IF AND WHEN they are making enough to spend up to and beyond the luxury tax.

    • Very good post. From a business perspective it doesnt matter if the Jays broadcast fees are 1 $ or 100 million per year since Rogers owns both entities.

      However, if other baseball teams are getting 75-150 million per year from non related parties , like advertisers , then this money can be allocated to payroll to improve the product on the field.

      The problem with the Jays is that they are crying poor about broadcast revenue, by reporting 36 million when the FMV is significantly higher & demanding that fans show up to the stadium before they invest in the team.

      If Rogers decided to open up bidding for tv rights , I am sure their partners at TSN would be interested.

      Rogers could also allocate part of the broadcast profits to the team so they can increase payroll.

  6. the other obvious problem is that beeston basically has said that the jays have $120 million dollar spending cap EVEN IF AND WHEN the people come out.

    but…the two “sustainable” teams in their division spend far more than that to keep vets and pay their young players.

    so really, it seems as though rogers aren’t really committed to winning indefinitely, but are just trying to milk the most money out of the fans with a strategy of catching lightning in a bottle (lawrie etc.). otherwise beeston – who is now talking about real grass in the dome – would say even more pie-in-the-sky things about no payroll limits if the team becomes a winner and revenues increase.

  7. Sadly, this wasn’t the worst press the Jays got today:

    The new logo looks great!

  8. Even though the other regions might see other teams games it’s never at the expense of the of Jays game so that point is basically worthless. We get the odd Sox and Yankees game on Sportsnet all season in Toronto. Does that mean we share the local market with them? At the end of the day those Jays games are broadcast throughout Canada.

    Next we have this:

    “However, as television rights pertain to the Blue Jays, this makes little difference. They’re owned by the same entity that owns the network that broadcasts their games. Because of this situation, the league monitors the fees paid from the television entity to the baseball entity to ensure that the Blue Jays don’t take advantage of MLB’s revenue sharing policies by limiting their income.”

    That’s another point that’s fairly disingenuous. As you can see from an excerpt below from a Hardball Times article, actual revenues generated by teams that own their own broadcast network or that are owned by a broadcaster are rarely calculated at their proper value for revenue sharing.

    “Let’s look specifically at the Yankees as we know if they were put up for sale a $1.2 billion price tag wouldn’t be outrageous (based on the Red Sox sale in 2004 and the chat surrounding the price the Tribune Company may achieve for the Cubs). How is this possible if they are losing money each year?

    The main reason is the TV contract. Forbes doesn’t factor this into a team’s revenue and profit calculation. Effectively the Yankees “sell” their TV rights at a huge discount to YES Network. YES is part-owned by the Yankees but it keeps money away from the beady eyes of the revenue sharing police. It also distorts Forbes’ valuation. As a case in point, the Sports Business Journal reports that YES will distribute $250 million to its partners, one of whom is the Yankees. Does this appears in Forbes’ profit or revenue estimate? No.

    To compare apples with apples TV contracts for all clubs should be treated equally. The rights are owned by the Yankees and they should be valued at fair market value, not some fuzzy, obscure off-income statement discount.

    Baseball clubs are entertainment vehicles. Back in the early 20th century the main revenue stream was ticket sales. Increasingly it is TV and other new media (e.g., the Internet). To maximize revenue, profit and value, teams will look to optimize their income across all media. This is likely to result in a proliferation of RSNs or some sort of IP delivered local content. Irrespective of the technology the fact that Forbes excludes these from its valuations is wrong.

    The TV contract is but one issue with Forbes’ methodology. A look at the Marlins reveals another.”

    Then there is this comment regarding RSN’s:

    “For years, the default RSN for many markets was owned by Fox Sports Net, but an increasing trend is for the teams whose games make up the lucrative programming to own the RSN themselves. This serves two purposes: First, the teams make more money operating an RSN than they would collecting a licensing fee from, for example, Fox Sports Net.

    Second, by owning their own RSN, teams that must share revenues with other members of their league can mask its broadcast-related profits. Under the old model, a team collects a large fee for licensing its games to the RSN. That fee would then be disclosed and shared with the other teams in the league. Under the new, team-owned RSN model, the team demands only a nominal fee, so the profits for local broadcasting stay with the team.”

    What your indictment of Dowbiggin fails to do most importantly is deal with the fact that RSN’s protect clubs from revenue sharing. Below a quote from Maury Brown himself:

    “With the RSN no longer part of the deal with the Braves sale, it could be a serious consideration for whoever wishes to purchase the club. Why? RSNs shield clubs from revenue sharing.”

    You ask how the clubs get away with shielding their revenue and profits with the RSN’s? Brown says how:

    “By the way… Some are asking how the RSN shields owners from revenue sharing.

    This is called Transfer Pricing.”

    With RSN revenue’s being shielded from revenue sharing it was the primary reason why MLB did the best thing they could do and change the qualifications for revenue sharing to market size in the new CBA. They know better than anyone how much actual revenues are fudged by the clubs. Teams like the Jays won’t be able to game the system that way any longer.

    Dowbiggin might be off in some of the details but he’s not off when it comes to the core issue of how much revenue is actually being derived from those rights. The competition for the rights angle is also a wasted point in this situation because like the Yankees and Red Sox the Jays are in essence their own broadcaster. This is where they completely differ from teams like the Angels, Dodgers or Rangers. Don’t forget even though the competition bumps up the price for those teams, the RSN’s are still making a profit on top of that. You do little to acknowledge that fact. You can try and deny all you want that there’s a difference between the Yankees, Sox and Jays in this case but it’s not true. The revenue generated from the games goes directly to the ultimate owner in each case. There’s no middleman to take his cut. So quibbling about the lack of bidders for the rights is basically a red herring. It doesn’t change the underlying fact that those broadcasts are extremely profitable and highly sought after as can been seen from the quote below in an article about Rogers and BCE buying MLSE.

    “But sports, as programming that is usually watched live, is still able to command mass audiences. That’s why sports programming rights have become he most lucrative and sought-after elements of the television market, and especially crucial for Rogers and Bell, which generate large profits from their rival sports cable stations. The stakes are so high that the bidding for MLSE by both companies became driven by fear, with each side willing to go to the brink to prevent its rival from getting the prize.”

    Sorry in advance if the formatting turns out poorly, I did a lot of copy and pasting.

    • Very good post.

      • Nope. Not at all. It’s a picking and choosing over of Parkes sentenceswithout accepting the overall point.

        • Or you read what you wanted to read….I thought the flaws in Dowbiggin’s article were acknowledged!?!?!

    • Nice job of building on both previous articles, you really filled in the blanks and made it a fun read.

    • I have to take issue with the first point. Just because the games are broadcast in those areas doesn’t necessarily mean that the areas are rightfully counted as part of the Jays market. I grew up in the Maritimes and usually spend a month or so there during the year, and my best guess would be that it’s probably 45% Jays fans, 45% Sox fans and 10% other. I remember well the days before MLB Extra Innings and when people and bars would buy illegal American satellite dishes just to get NESN. People there are just as likely to take a trip to Fenway for a game as they are to the ‘dome, especially when the Canadian dollar is high. It’s an ingrained historical thing; Sox games were broadcast on radio in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia before the Expos existed, and even after the regional blackouts began, many folks were still able to tune in on radio signals from Maine. Jays “regional” games definitely draw viewers even in those areas, but have less chance of generating other revenues from those viewers.

    • great post night_manimal. parkes article missed the mark entirely. the WSJ validated one of your main points when it wrote the following: “Proceeds from regional sports networks aren’t subject to baseball’s revenue-sharing rules…” That article can be found here:

      If Rogers is milking the Jays to offset its revenue issues from its other divisions, then it further undermines its assinine proposition that it will spend money once the fans return to the ballpark – no one wants to support a franchise while its owners pilfer the team. It’s very much akin to what the McCourt’s did to the Dodgers franchise.
      Shameful really and kudos to Dowbiggin for pointing that out.

  9. I like this article. I am also aroused by $/WAR.

  10. Fuck yes Parkes. You’ve been preaching truths lately and it continues.

    • fuck no. I disagree. Rogers is raking in the dough here, the least they could do for us true Jays fans is sign a 3rd starter.

      • If there was a good one on the market, maybe they would have

        • Yu wouldn’t be a good third starter?

          • Perhaps you should investigate the concept of MLB’s blind auction for posted Japanese players. It was not an “open market” thing. The Jays bid on Darvish and bid well. They had no way of knowing what the Rangers would bid. They couldn’t simply outbid them

  11. Your post is agood rebuttal to the Dowbiggin article.

    A big part of the problem here is perception, or as public relation gurus call it, optics. It just looks bad when a division of a company owns both the broadcasting arm and the sports team that fills part of the content. I think its easy to be critical of Rogers in that they don’t have an arms length relationship with the broadcasting side of things. When the TV broadcasting deal can be negotiated at the company lunch room, it just looks bad as the right hand and the left hand don’t have to worry about fair market value. At least, that is the perception.

    The reality however is that there is a significant level of sophistication when it comes to determining the value of the broadcasting rights. There are accounting rules and practices that must be followed in determining value, even in non arms-length transactions. Not to mention how the Canada Revenu Agency has tons of regulations in these matters. Rogers cannot circumvent these requirements.

    The debatable issue, from a regulatory side of things, is determining fair market value. That is up to the bean counters to negotiate and define to satisfy the accountants and the CRA. MLB also has reporting requirements for revenue sharing purposes. But that is another can of worms as highlighted by Night manimal’s post.

    Dowbiggin’s whole argument is a tad too simplistic. Even if there is an artificial and devaluated value assigned to broadcasting right, who is to say how Rogers ultimately determines the Blue Jays baseball operations budget? And using lucrative regional TV deals signed by Fox and a few teams like the Rangers and Angels to contrast Rogers is the ultimate example of comparing apples to oranges.

    I do agree that having an imputed value assigned to fair market value has its drawbacks, but its not like the Blue Jays are alone in this type of arrangement. Dowbiggin fails to suggest an alternative arrangement. Are we to infer that the Blue Jays are somehow being short-changed? Call me naive, but I don’t accept that inference.

    While AA was unable to land us a middle of the order rotation starter, he was very active in trade discussions (it was reported that AA had trade offers for Pineda, Latos and Gonzalez). Ultimately, the decision to decline trade offers for another starter had nothing to do with finances. Rather, AA did not feel comfortable with the offers being presented as they would have cost the Blue Jays top-grade prospects and MLB level talent (notably guys like Lawrie and Alvarez).

    Keith Law recently stated that AA has been quietly setting the pieces ready to make a big move once the brass decides that the team is ready to go all-in. They have payroll flexibility (no albatross contracts), moveable MLB talent (that fabulous Blue Jay bullpen is a good starting point) and trade chips (prospects). Depending on how the current version of the team performs, a big move could occur on or before July 31 or it could happen next off-season.

  12. can’t speak for Manitoba and BC, but I’ve lived my whole life in Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and it’s really hilarious if the Twins, and Mariners think they have any kind of fanbase in these provinces.. all night parties in the streets in Regina both times.

  13. Its not so much as the Blue Jays dropping the ball as Beeston showing his ignorance. The man who proudly says he doesn’t use email is being used by Rogers as the front man for a company who’s main value is now as digital content. Parkes’ arguments have some merit but are very one-sided as to be expected. The fact is that the Blue Jays viewership is amongst the top 10 in Baseball (and yes Parkes I’m accounting for the difference in household measurement) and yet their Rights Fees are being booked as if they are bottom 5.

    Beeston claims that the spending will come when attendance rises. The rise in value of the Media Rights in the past 5 years is already greater than the value of a rise in attendance from 1.6mm-3mm. This inconsistency in message is not addressed by either you or Dowbiggin and is really the crux of this issue. Either Beeston is lying (shocker!) and spending isn’t tied to the value the Blue Jays create for Rogers, or he is ignorant and doesn’t understand the Media rights are creating more value than a rise in attendance.

    • I think a better argument to originally make in rebuttal of Dowbiggin would have been to just stick with the fact that Jays management didn’t believe now was the time to go big with the numerous question marks surrounding the team. Another argument could have been made that it’s now being talked about that they looked hard at guys like Beltran and Reyes but were rebuffed for the turf reasons (I wish someone would do an article on how much it’s overplayed by players nowadays).

      The Texas example is a good one for Jays fans though attendance has little to do with their big rise in payroll the last couple of years.

      As for the line:
      “According to sources, the Blue Jays roughly adhere to the formula provided by MLB in its TV payments to the club.”

      That’s totally true and I believe he was merely commenting on the fact that Jays do adhere to the bare minimum of reporting when it comes to TV revenue just like the Yankees and Sox do for revenue sharing purposes. As we can see now the Yankees and Sox certainly do not report all the revenue from their networks so why would the Jays?

      Personally I think that even though the Jays are getting the short end of the stick with regards to the value of the rights, it hasn’t stopped Rogers from spending close to a what they were spending at the end of the Ricciardi era when you add everything up. I think we can also agree that it’s being put to use in a much smarter way. If you want to be a cheerleader for the shareholders an argument can be made that it’s Rogers prerogative to spend as they see fit. Unfortunately, that’s a hard argument to make with the fans especially when they’re being asked to take the first step. The most amusing part from Dowbiggin’s article had to be where it was reported that Scott Moore from Sportsnet was negotiating with Beeston regarding an extension for the TV rights. Talk about your quick negotiations.

      I think as Robichaud alluded to above in an earlier comment, Rogers and the Jays really dropped the ball in the PR department more than anything else.

      I am still surprised that more of the media haven’t looked into the future loss of the revenue sharing the Jays are set to lose completely by 2016. Dowbiggin touched on it briefly but imo it deserves a much more detailed look. Considering the expectations for an expanding payroll are practically a given from this point on, it’s going to be interesting to see how Rogers and the Jays deal with that lost revenue. To use a phrase from golf, it’s basically a two shot-swing in the wrong direction. The team is taking on more expenses just at the time a large chunk of their present day revenue is going to be lost.

      The last report I could find on how much money they Jays had received in revenue sharing was around $35 million as reported by Jayson Stark of ESPN at the end of 2009. In 2006 Maury Brown writing for the Hardball Times had the Jays getting $31 million.

      The fact that they got that much back in 2006 is probably a better example of how Rogers had been running this team more than anything else. It’s also a prime reason why many of the media write the articles that they do. If you look at the payroll of $71 million in 2006 vs the $31 million in revenue sharing, the Forbes reported $43 million in gate receipts, the roughly $30 million they got from the central fund as all teams do, and the mystery amounts for all the media rights you can see the Jays have been a nice little cash cow for Rogers. It also makes you wonder just how generous old Teddy boy really was when he announced in 2005 he was going to spend $210 million extra over the next few years. If anything it just looks like he gave back money the Jays operations were making by themselves.

      • Very good analysis. So even in the Jays “high spending years” of 2006, they weren’t putting in any money from their own pocket. LOL!

        Rogers needs new PR guys. Jerry Howarth gave a good explanation to Jeff Blair why the jays didn’t want to spend on Fielder. He argued that it would get Bautista & anyone else on the current upset about giving 9 year contracts at elevated amounts. He said that Bautista likes being the club leader & would not like to relinquish his role to Fielder.

      • Will Rogers replace the 35 million in revenue sharing by allocating an extra 35 million from broadcast revenues to the team?

        Will the Jays cite payroll parameters in 2015, as a way not to resign players looking for free agent extensions?

    • Very good points. The increase in value of the media rights more tahn offsets any stagnation in gate receipts. Even the NFL has to deal with the fact that watching the game at home on HDTV is better or fans that attending games with concession costs etc.

    • Beeston is ot of touch with the new revenue stream in baseball. He looks silly tring to justify record spending on the draft when it would have to happen with the record number of high draft picks they have accumulated.

      Anyone tried calling him?

  14. Parkes,

    You are a strong writer and I really enjoy your columns; however, you use “however” too often.


  15. Has anyone looked at whether the amounts cited in these contracts are actual hard dollars that will be paid or are they “could earn up to $XXX million” like the fiction that was David Beckham’s $250 million contract.

    Or is it also possible that it is a production contract meaning that the RSN is paying the team for a finished product (ie. the team produces the broadcast with all the attendant costs such as trucks, cameras, broadcasters, etc) and therefore it inflates the amount of money that would actually fall to the ball club as profit. An example of this is Howard Stern’s first contract with Sirius where it was cited as a 5 year, $500 million contract. This was actually $100 million per year for production, staff and programming costs. Stern definitely took home profit but was not paid $100 million per year. My guess is these baseball deals are more likely this type of arrangement – ie. the Rangers will NOT be receiving $150 million per year for their TV rights.

    • Good point. I assume it includes production costs, so the net amount paid to the team would be lower.

      There may also be minimum ad revenues attached to the deal, so if the broadcast generate low ratings, then the amount paid wil drop.

  16. Bruce has been a TO basher since he became one of the few CBC on air employee ever to get canned; that I know of. How bad did he have to be to get that? Off to Calgary he went, and the Globe as the country’s primo newspaper gave him a podium . A bone tossed to the Globe’s miniscule sports readership in Texas North.

    Bruce has the full blown Steve Simmons disease; don’t let facts get in the way of a good story. I admit that many don’t like Robert McGowan, me I’m a huge fan because IMO the Bobcat is the ultimate media pro. He was a recent target of Doby, with a pathetic effort. Bob brushed him off and put Bruce on the dreaded blacklist.

    When it comes to Dowbiigan, it is all about “Nothing here to see, move along people.”
    And so it should go.

  17. In the second graf I think you mean headline instead of byline. Byline is the author’s name and position with the paper/organization.

  18. “Granted, only two thirds of the Maple Leafs games are broadcast regionally, and they too are dealing with similar ownership issues, but the annual cost that Rogers Sportsnet and TSN share for those rights would have to be multiplied by three before they would match what the regional FOX Sports networks have individually agreed to pay the Angels and Rangers.”

    so FOX sports pays 3 times as much to broadcast 162 games as the Leafs regional providers pay to broadcast 54 games? doesn’t rally seem out of whack to me… please explain.

    • What’s out of whack is valuing the Blue Jays television viewership in a similar manner to the Leafs, which is what you’d have to do if you think that Rogers Sportsnet should be spending as much on Blue Jays regional television as FOX Sports does for the Rangers or Angels.

      • i’m not suggesting that the jays are worth $150M per 162 games… but they probably are worth far north of $36M per 162.

        also keep in mind that it isn’t an apples to apples comparison… the Leafs regional territory is smaller in scale (central and western ontario) than the region in which the jays local rights apply (nationally).

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