March 5, 2021

MLB’s Winning and Losing Efforts to Conquer TV, Part II: Beating the Bubble (FanGraphs)


Television money draws a lot of attention when it comes to MLB’s finances, in part because the national revenues are easily identifiable. But the big driver of baseball revenue since the strike hasn’t been national television. Instead, local television deals and brand new stadiums with capacity for significantly more fans (and many highly priced tickets) have helped MLB revenues soar. Baseball’s national television deals have certainly gotten bigger, but getting fans to the ballpark has been more important to the bottom line over the last few decades. Baseball’s increasingly diverse streams of revenue have even reached to land deals surrounding ballparks, and helped create a financially strong industry in which one bad television deal won’t topple the sport and lead to a strike and lockout, as it did in 1994 (covered in Part I). However, MLB must be careful not to head back in that direction, and current trends are less than promising. In the second part of this series, we’ll look at how MLB has grown into an industry that generates nearly $11 billion per year in revenue, with a valuation above $50 billion.

While the 60s, 70s, or 80s (or whichever era you grew…

Read “MLB’s Winning and Losing Efforts to Conquer TV, Part II: Beating the Bubble” at FanGraphs