May 12, 2021

Braves Print Money for Liberty Media (FanGraphs)


Generally speaking, exactly how much money baseball teams make on an annual basis isn’t public knowledge. We can take a look at the sale of MLB franchises and know that when they are sold, teams generally make 8% annually after accounting for inflation. Profits are more difficult to decipher because owners don’t want to disclose just how much money they make, though they are sometimes quick to trumpet an operating loss. The absence of many owners claiming losses is arguably deafening, but in addition to that silence, the publicly traded Braves report their revenues every year. Over the last two seasons, they have provided Liberty Media with nearly $150 million in profits.

Baseball ownership hasn’t traditionally been an avenue for massive yearly profits. In 2001, MLB self-reported unaudited numbers to Congress after MLB’s antitrust exemption was threatened. They had announced that two franchises might be contracted, and that drew the ire of the elected representatives in Washington. It’s fair to take these numbers with a grain of salt, but on average, teams lost around $5 million per year from 1996-2001. MLB did not have a great television contract during that…

Read “Braves Print Money for Liberty Media” at FanGraphs