July 15, 2012

Major League Baseball to see its True Value

Filed under: Major League Baseball — Giorgio Varlaro @ 4:02 pm

Supplied via Google Images

Most professional sports teams are private entities. Because of this it’s rare to find accurate annual profits where team values can be determined. Creative ways of finding this information have been proposed in research (comparing team value over time to the current market), but without the correct data the soundness of the research isn’t strong.

A big proponent in a teams’ value is television revenue. Before luxury seating became a staple in newly constructed stadiums and arenas, revenues from television contracts were a staple of a successful franchise. Marginal revenue gains increased from the millions to the billions thus leaving all competitors in the dust, searching for their chance at a lucrative television contract.

Major League Baseball (MLB), which collects an average of $711 million each year from ESPN, FOX and Turner, is searching for a competitive television contract for the 2013 season. Once completed, the contract will show MLB commissioner Bud Selig the true value of his commodity.

In trying to exploit networks appetites for ratings, the MLB wants to return baseball to NBC. NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) needs programming which is more powerful than its current marquee properties: the National Hockey League and Tour De France. Fox is also considering turning its Speed channel into an all-sports network, which would need more than motor racing to thrive.

One change baseball has proposed is an all-encompassing deal to one media giant for a game of the week, the All-Star Game and the postseason. It’s unlikely to happen because leagues prefer to satisfy multiple partners.

What the MLB does realize is NBC’s need for it. NBC is the fourth-ranked network, even though “Sunday Night Football” finished last season as the highest rated program in prime time. NBCSN cannot survive on only hockey, cycling, boxing, Mountain West Conference football, horse racing, soccer and elk hunting. Here’s where the MLB comes into play.

NBC’s Olympic coverage, which is slated to start on July 27th, is sure to dominate prime time coverage and receive record viewership, but after closing ceremonies what does the network have to offer television viewers?

With rights fees for professional and college sports soaring, let’s see what the MLB can attract. The National Football League signed a nine-year extension with FOX, NBC and CBS totaling $27 billion in 2011. NCAA basketball signed a 14-year deal with CBS and Turner Sports totaling $11 billion in 2010. Should Major League Baseball come close to these deals, reveals its importance to television viewers.



March 21, 2011

Bonds Back on Trial

Filed under: Major League Baseball — Giorgio Varlaro @ 11:00 pm

Supplied via Google Images

After what seems like an eternity in the sports world, former All-Star Barry Bonds went back to court today (Monday, March 21, 2011) on charges of perjury after four years and ten professional athletes convictions in federal court in connection with steroid use and distribution, or for lying to the government or grand jury.

Bonds, who is now 46 and played his last professional game in 2007, has seven defense lawyers, but only three will be representing him in court. They are Allen Ruby, Cris Arguedas and Dennis Riordan. Ruby and Arguedas have worked with high profile cases previously (Ruby represented Raiders’ Owner Al Davis and Arguedas prepared O.J. Simpson in his murder trial in relation to cross examinations) while Riordan is said to be a whiz at legal theories.

Prosecuting Bonds still is Matthew Parrella and Jeffrey Nedrow. Parrella and Nedrow, who have been on the case since the beginning, need to convince a jury that Bonds knew he was taking steroids when he used the substances former trainer Greg Anderson gave him. Anderson has served over a year in prison for declining to testify against Bonds in 2009 and is expected to be jailed for contempt of court for the duration of the trial that began today. Anderson was a key piece of the prosecutions’ case, but the absence of his testimony has weakened the government’s case because the judge has excluded some evidence which included drug test results linked to Bonds.

Both the prosecution and defense in this case understand the importance of the outcome. As stated by Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, “Too much time has been invested and the public’s expectations have been raised too high to accept anything less than a conviction.”

If Bond is convicted of perjury, would you care? Is this old news to the public who has most of their attention on relief efforts in Japan? Or is the Bonds case bigger than some might realize? Bonds is the all-time leader in home runs in Major League history. In a sport that has embraced stats more than any other league, would a conviction of Bonds lead to a decrease in baseball enthusiasts?

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