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The Dodgers laugh at your concerns about their spiraling payroll

Nov 26, 2012, 8:06 AM EDT

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We can make all the jokes we want about the Dodgers signing everyone and making the mid-2000s Yankees look like misers and all that jazz, but they won’t care. Why? Because their TV deal is going to be bonkers, it seems. Bill Shaikin reports:

Fox Sports could pay at least $6 billion to retain the Dodgers’ television rights, three parties familiar with the negotiations said Sunday. The deal could be worth three times what the Dodgers’ new owners paid for the team and almost 20 times the value of the Dodgers’ current television contract.

Perspective: the Dodgers currently rake in about $29 million a year in local TV money. This deal would bring them about $240 million a year, on average, over the life of the deal. In other words, with just the increase in TV revenue, they could add, like, eight A-Rods to the roster. So, no, when they sign Zack Greinke, you need not shed a tear for their financial well being.

Fox, on the other hand, maybe worry about them. Because these rights deals are getting insane and eventually the bubble is going to burst, right? And some network is going to have … um, whatever goo makes up TV rights bubbles splash all over them. Perhaps it’s a soapy mixture of some kind. Comes with a wand.

  1. fuddpucker - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:15 AM

    This is probably the worst financial deal in the history of baseball, possibly in all of sports! This will completely and utterly destroy so many facets of the game that the reverberations will be felt for DECADES to come!

    Baseball is DESTROYING itself, good riddance.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:19 AM

      This might be an obvious question, or maybe not, but umm, why? How is a large infusion of cash bad for baseball?

      Or are you just ranting for ranting’s sake?

      • stex52 - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:47 AM

        I think we are being trolled.

      • sabatimus - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:17 PM

        I’m thinking troll. But the operative words here are “Fox could pay.” It’s not a done deal yet. And it’s a terribly obscene difference from their previous contract. So no one hold their breath yet.

    • samu0034 - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:22 AM

      Look, I’m no economist, but how does baseball accepting the preposterous amounts of money that TV stations are throwing at them constitute destroying ITSELF? They’re supposed to tell Fox Sports “Y’know, thanks a lot and everything, but how ’bout you give us about 20% of what you’re offering. That seems totally fair to us.”

    • cktai - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:27 AM

      That is quite an interesting spin to the “baseball is dying narrative”: Baseball is dying because it is getting too much money!

  2. proudlycanadian - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    Frank McCourt must be very upset that he was unable to hang on to the team just a bit longer.

    • Old Gator - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:08 AM

      Oh won’t you stay-yay…
      Just a little bit lon-gurr….
      Please let me hear you
      Say that you will (la da da da DA)….

      • indaburg - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:16 AM

        Won’t you press your sweet lips
        To mi-i-i-ne
        Won’t you say you love me
        All of the tiiiiiiiime

        Just a little bit longuh

        (Thanks for the ohrwurm, OG.)

      • stex52 - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:33 AM

        Wo-wo-wo-wo-wo jus’ a little bit longer (Appropriate Falsetto).

        Just had to jump in, too.

      • proudlycanadian - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        Thanks to Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs

  3. fuddpucker - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    Who do you think is actually going to pay that 6 BILLION? That’s right, your cable bill is going to go through the roof.

    • biasedhomer - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:36 AM

      Especially if the bubble bursts.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:37 AM

      Oh no, my cable bill will go up! Damn you Barack Obama and your socialist govt for forcing me to buy cable! Damn you to hell!

      • sparty0n - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:13 AM

        Cute – BUT…most would be amazed at how many getting social service assistance have cable as if it is a “necessity” of life. There are a lot of families down on their luck, can’t get a job, need food and clothes, but by-gum, they still got their cell phone and cable!

      • indaburg - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:41 AM

        Way to generalize, sparty. I also know people on public assistance who don’t have cable and make do with free tv. As for a cell phone, for most people, it is much cheaper and practical than a land line. In modern society, a phone, whether it is a cell phone or land line, is a necessity.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:59 PM

        Additionally, when you don’t have a stable residence and “stay” somewhere, as opposed to “living” there, having a cell phone works best. The cell phone goes with you and you don’t have to keep getting new numbers (and paying connections fees).

        Also, you might be surprised how many houses in respectable neighborhoods pirate their cable.

    • paperlions - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:41 AM

      Actually, Fox thinks advertisers are going to pay for it, not cable customers.

      • fuddpucker - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:44 AM

        I see, I thought Fox got a big chunk of money from subscribers. I guess not, my bad!

      • paperlions - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:47 AM

        They do or can….Fox can elect to withhold FoxSports unless the Cable company agrees to pay them more…but most if not all of this cost will be recovered via advertising dollars. I doubt a cable/satellite package including FSN would go up more than a dollar…if that.

      • stex52 - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:50 AM

        I’m sure subscriptions will be part of the package. But we all end up paying for advertising indirectly, anyway. It will be added to the cost of the products advertised.

        Not to mention the misery of watching the non-stop ads and endorsements.

      • indaburg - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:22 AM

        Stex, you don’t have to watch all those ads. Just record the game and start watching 30 minutes into it, then fast forward on your DVR through commercials. Misery solved.

      • stex52 - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:39 AM

        True, Ms. Indaburg, and Happy Thanksgiving. But I still maintain we are supplying the money for these deals indirectly. And that bugs me some.

      • APBA Guy - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        Indaburg-yep, that’s what I do, DVR every A’s game and pick it up around 45 minutes in. If it’s a pitchers duel the game’s over in about 1:15.

      • historiophiliac - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:00 PM

        Wait, so you can go to the bathroom whenever you want? Genius.

      • echech88 - Nov 26, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        Incorrect. It is counting on both.

        The Lakers sold their TV rights for 3 billion to Time Warner and the majority of LA/OC were without the first 4 or 5 games because Time Warner commanded a cable fee second only to ESPN. For ONE team.

        Make no mistake…Fox Sports will probably want their subscription fee to triple under this agreement.

    • odorlessopie - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:45 AM

      I never quite understand this reasoning. If they could jack up the prices to increase their profits, wouldn’t they have done so already?

  4. henryd3rd - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    Fox recently brought a significant piece of the YES Television Network formerly owned in it’s entirety by the Yankees. Like the Yankees needed to make more money?

    People scoffed when the Yankees left MSG and decided to create their own television network; but no one is laughing now. Charles Dolan of Cablevision even went so far as to balk at providing their Cablevision customer access to the YES network. The Politicos had to get involved so that New Yorkers could watch the Yankees in NY Metro area. For a price I might add.

    Now they are all copying the Yankee model and there’s only going to be the haves and the have nots in the future. Or should I say the “revenue sharing little sisters of the poor”.

    • ballparkprints - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      The YES Network sold 49% stake to Fox…
      ” The current owners: Yankee Global Enterprises, Goldman Sachs and other investors will reduce their ownership in connection with this transaction. After three years, News Corporation may acquire an additional stake in the YES Network that could bring its ownership to 80 percent, at which time Yankee Global Enterprises would retain a significant minority stake in the network”.

      It’s as much about the media companies like Fox or NBC protecting their empires also.
      I find it always amusing how the Yankees are the “Evil Empire” look at the money being thrown around by the Dodgers and the Texas Rangers. Also the Steinbrenner’s compared to most owners are not the rich….

      Some interesting $$$$ numbers

  5. paperlions - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    This feels an awful lot like a Ryan Howard deal. Yes, you have an exclusive negotiating period. But it seems more likely that Fox is going to overpay than save money by doing this….then again, Fox must know what SportsNet or TW cable are able to pay. It seems unlikely that the Dodgers are actually considering starting their own network.

  6. paperlions - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    It is worth noting that at least $1B (and up to $2B) of a $6B TV deal will be spread around MLB via revenue sharing. So….while this deal helps the dodgers far more, it also adds to the ability of other teams to spend money.

    • proudlycanadian - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:00 AM

      So both Florida teams will benefit from the Dodgers big TV contract!

      • Old Gator - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:10 AM

        Huh? Wha….

      • natslady - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:25 AM

        And the Rays are spending already. Now, the Feeeesh????

        n a surprising and significant move, the Rays have extended the contract of 3B Evan Longoria an additional six years through the 2022 season, for an additional $100-million.

      • henryd3rd - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:57 PM

        Yes both team will get some of the revenue sharing money. Neither can continue to be competitive if the powers that be each allow teams to negotiate their own TV deals. Small market teams will always be at a disadvantage.

        One has got to feel sorry for those small market team owners as they struggle to get by on such a pittance. How are they suppose to live on just a couple of Hundred Million

  7. natslady - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t YES subscribers also–for an extra fee–have access to live Yankees games live on all their devices? Will the Dodgers do this? And why don’t other teams? People do not live their lives with a cable attached to their foreheads as they move about the world…

    • Old Gator - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:11 AM

      Read your William Gibson, my dear. The skull jack is located just behind and below the ear.

    • historiophiliac - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      Wow, you make me feel old and out of touch…

      • historiophiliac - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:01 PM

        Sweet! Someone thumbs down that I’m old and out of touch! Thank you.

  8. temporarilyexiled - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    Let’s see how the new ownership manages all this cash. Will the team’s fans be able to join in ownership’s laughfest if the team doesn’t win several titles in a row? Haven’t the Yankees of the recent past set that bar for them to supposedly leap over? Whatever happens, it’ll certainly be highly publicized. Bring on 2013.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Thanks for your concern! Speaking as one Dodgers fan, we don’t care about “several titles in a row.” We care about a competitive product on the field. You know, one that is worth the multiple 3 million a season attendances we tend to produce in SoCal.

      • temporarilyexiled - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        I’ll be surprised if your team isn’t at least “competitive”. I wonder if the rest of the team’s fans will be as easy to please as you? Oh, and that wasn’t “concern” – just an observation/opinion (you choose). Also, you might note that my team does pretty well at the gate. And you also might note that the article was and is about TV revenue, which now seems to trump all. By all rights (pardon the pun), your team should be able to do anything they want. But again, will it be enough to win?

      • koufaxmitzvah - Nov 26, 2012 at 3:44 PM

        You sure do wonder a lot about Dodgers fans.

        Especially since, y’know, you’re not a Dodgers fan.

      • sailcat54 - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:56 PM

        “…we don’t care about “several titles in a row”


  9. shynessismyelguapo - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    …is anyone else starting to get nervous for the teams that are locked into old TV contracts that don’t pay them billions of dollars…ie, the Cardinals and their $15 million they bring in annually for their TV contact…until 2018.

    • stex52 - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      You are right. The Astros are getting 80 MM$ annually for stinking it up for at least three more years.

      Sounds like the Cardinals are losing the arms race. Hope there is some way they can opt into a better deal. In the present market they are getting robbed.

    • gibbyfan - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:08 AM

      It might be that the Cardinas were simply a bit inept in negotiations whereas the dodgers and others were not –all part of the game. Being a cardinalfan I am sad to see this but it is what it is.
      To make matters worse I think the Cards are locked in for several years.

  10. ame123 - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    As a Phillies fan who’s favorite team is about to get a mega contract too, I’m laughing at the pathetic TV Contract the Braves are locked into for the next 20 years.

  11. ndrick731 - Nov 26, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    And all the while ticket prices will rise and the sheep will continue to pay to be sheared as the owners tell you how they need more money to be competitive. As long as you bend over every time your told to don’t be surprised when you get screwed.

  12. greej1938l - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    So who in the dodgers organization is laughing? im confused…

    • kingscourt25 - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:24 AM

      Magic, Stan Kasten, Mark Walters, and the Guggenheim’s, who economist said overpaid for the team

  13. iamjimmyjack - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Woohoo go dodgers. This is how the dodgers should of been run for the past 2 decades. All u cry babies out there should be thankful that we gave u 20 years to win. Now is our time. This is how it should of been all along. This is la. If u don’t like it , tough luck. Stop watching sports. Ur team wasn’t going to win regardless of whether the dodgers spend money or not. Cry me a river!

    • stex52 - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      You’re making two big assumptions here:

      1. Dodgers management doesn’t decide to just pocket most of the money. They can if they want.

      2. The Dodgers management spends it effectively on players and a farm system that will actually win.

      Neither assumption is a sure thing by any means.

    • echech88 - Nov 26, 2012 at 3:22 PM

      A lot of this sounds familiar.

      Oh, that’s right. Dodger fans were saying the exact same things after they traded for the Red Sox mistakes.

      Worked out really well at the end of the year.

    • eaststandsal - Dec 1, 2012 at 1:48 AM

      Typical Dodger fan arrogance. That arrogance got you second place in the NL west in 2012 while the Giants went on the win the World Series. When will you learn you can’t buy chemistry. You can splash out on Grienke but he will remain alright pitcher that you will have severely overpaid for. It takes intelligence to run a successful baseball club. A club plan that is not spend a “gazillion dollars” on mediocre, past-it or injured players in the hopes that the more money you throw at the situation and “maybe something will stick!” It takes scouting and a plan and a team concept that you stick to, to create two World Series title in three years. But by all means throw money at the problem it is what those with more money than sense do all the time.

  14. iamjimmyjack - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Most of u ppl have know idea what ur talking about either. Don’t u know that the new collective bargaining agreement includes revenue sharing. Small market teams WILL be getting some of this money.

  15. bostonboy82 - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    6 Billion divided by 240 million equals 25 years. I didn’t know Ben Cherington worked for Fox Sports.

  16. losangelesfan - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it is for my team to once again have fiercely vociferous haters.

    • eaststandsal - Dec 1, 2012 at 1:56 AM

      Actually it’s more pity that a once great and storied franchise that broke the color barrier and was truly a model franchise that others did envy has fallen into the trap of “throw money at the problem and it will solve anything.” It is shame to see what the Dodgers, a team of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campenella, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, has become. A stadium that is falling apart and an ownership that doesn’t understand what quality baseball is, but only what “expensive” baseball is.

  17. echech88 - Nov 26, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    This will always make the offseason a blast for Dodgers fans but anything other than domination by the team is going to feel like failure to their fans with these kind of expectations.

    Free agency is great but it can also sink some ships if it isn’t done wisely (Hello Boston). If I’m a Dodger fan I’m worried that the guys they’re using the money on are just kind of mediocre or already past their prime.

  18. ermur22 - Nov 26, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    iamjimmyjack———HAAAAA! You act like the Dodger’s have won ANYTHING since you have even been born! Save the boasting for when they actually win

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