AP source: MLB endangered economic group as regional TV

NEW YORK — Concerned about the possible bankruptcy of the company that owns the local broadcast rights to 14 of its 30 Major League Baseball teams, the league has set up a new economic studies committee that will meet next week at the owners’ meeting in Palm Beach, Florida.

The committee’s existence was disclosed to the Associated Press by a person familiar with the planning who spoke on condition of anonymity as no announcements were made.

The committee will also examine income inequality among MLB clubs.

The person said Los Angeles Dodgers president Mark Walter and Detroit Tigers president Chris Ilitch were among the committee members.

Baseball executives have said in recent weeks that the sport must be prepared if royalties are not paid by Diamond Sports Group, a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, which operates networks under the Bally Sports name. Cable networks have lost subscribers and revenue in recent years due to cable cuts.

Diamond, Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals own the San Diego Padres, Tampa broadcast rights. Mr Rays and Texas Rangers.

Billy Chambers, Sinclair’s chief financial bidder, began working with MLB this week in a new position as vice president of local media.

The Walt Disney Company acquired regional sports networks by acquiring 21st Century Fox in March 2019.

In August, Sinclair announced that it had purchased 21 regional sports networks and Fox College Sports from Disney for $10.6 billion.

At the time, Disney sold the Yankees’ stake in Fox in YES Network to a newly formed group of investors that included Yankee Global Enterprises and Sinclair, which had 80% of YES and was not previously held by the Yankees. total business value of $3.47 billion.

Sinclair also owns the rights to several NBA and NHL teams and has joint venture stakes in the Marquee Sports Network, which broadcasts the Chicago Cubs.

Out of this season, salaries have increased after a five-year contract with the players’ association last year. And payrolls rose 12.6% last year to $4.56 billion, breaking the previous record set in 2017 and expected to rise even higher this year. Entering its third season under owner Steve Cohen, the New York Mets are currently projecting a payroll of around $370 million – breaking the previous high of $291 million by the 2015 Los Angeles Dodgers.

MLB’s newest working committee follows a couple over the past quarter century. One was a joint management-union committee that began after the 1990 lockout and rejected the management’s proposal for a salary cap while recommending that in 1992 abolish salary arbitration and allow players to qualify for free agency after three years instead of six.

The other was a committee that met in 1999 and 2000, proposing higher luxury tax rates, sharing 40-50% of local revenues after ballpark expenses, and unequal distribution of new national broadcasting, licensing, and internet revenues. minimum wage.


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