MLB Grows Gross Revenue for 15th Straight Season, Hits $10 Billion For 1st Time

Major League Baseball increased gross revenue for the 15th straight season in 2017, topping $10 billion for the first time (up from +/- $9.5 billion in ‘15). The growth can be attributed to an increase in sponsorship revenues (+12%), sale of league’s majority stake in BAMTech (to DIS for $2.58 billion) and growing revenues from TV and digital media. Despite the positive financial report, the league reported that total attendance declined for the fifth time in six seasons, dropping below 73 million for the first time since 2002.

Howie Long-Short: The Atlanta Braves are one of two teams (Toronto Blue Jays is the other) that are publicly traded. The Braves Group (BATRA) includes the team, five MiLB teams, SunTrust stadium and other real estate assets (including MiLB ballparks and mixed-use real estate adjacent to SunTrust park). The wholly-owned subsidiary Liberty Media reported Q3 ’17 revenue grew 70% YOY (to $185 million), with ticket sales, concessions, corporate sales, suites and premium seat fees all increasing in the first year at the new ballpark. Owners want new buildings, because new buildings drive bottom line revenue.

Fan Marino: You can invest in the Miami Marlins; if you have $150 million (and can stomach some short-term losses). The team sent out a “teaser” soliciting high net-worth individuals, highlighting the investment opportunity and group’s plans to turn a profit. The deck references stadium naming rights, the organization’s plans to fill open dates on the stadium calendar (with concerts etc.) and an upcoming lucrative new RSN contract (currently the least valuable in baseball, expires after 2020 season) as viable new revenue streams. Bruce Sherman’s group bought the team back in September for $1.2 billion; considered a premium based on the team’s existing financial situation (expected to lose $60 million this season).

MLB Sets Record For Revenues In 2017, Increasing More Than $500 Million Since 2015

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LIBERTY BRAVES REPORTS 34% INCREASE IN REVENUE; CASHING IN ON NEW STADIUM

Atlanta’s new Suntrust Park has provided a fresh scene for Braves fans, but also a huge increase in revenue for the franchise. Liberty Media (BATRA), reported a $45 million (or 34%) increase over the same period last year, attributing the growth to improved performance on the field and updated amenities at the new stadium. Operating profit before depreciation and amortization was $27 million for Q2, up from $12 million from last year, however after depreciation and amortization the team showed a $3 million loss. Liberty cited an increase in property and equipment, to support the development of mixed-use real estate around the ballpark, as the cause for the rise in depreciation and amortization expenses.

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Braves’ revenue jumps 34% in new stadium, Liberty Media says

Howie Long-Short: Professional sports team owners demand a new stadium every 25-30 years for exactly this reason. New buildings offer new amenities. New amenities bring new revenue.

Fan Marino: Turner Field (the old stadium) opened with the ’96 Olympics. It’s absolutely remarkable the franchise was able to squeeze the city for a new ballpark after 20 years.