File this under, Cha-Ching!
As we reported prior, word has been that MLB would exceed $6 billion in gross revenues, making baseball a contender to pass the NFL as the leading money maker shortly (projections for the NFL are for $6.3-$6.5 billion this year). Today at the end of the Owners Meetings, Commissioner Selig made it official. As reported by The AP:
"We started at $1.2 billion, and I can remember waking up in `93 and `94 and `95 and thinking how are we ever going to get to $2 billion? So here we are at $6 billion, 75 million. And if we just keep doing our work, stay out of controversies, keep the focus on the field, we'll get to numbers someday that will be stunning. And these are stunning."
"As I told the clubs today, we're on a great high here," Selig said Thursday following the conclusion of a two-day meeting in which owners discussed, among other things, ways to speed up games.
"When you look at the final numbers and you see what's happened, it's remarkable. There are times, honestly, when I have to pinch myself to make sure all of this is happening. ... Growth and revenue, growth and profitability; it's just been really, really good."
And, expect the figures to continue to climb. Baseball posted a record fourth consecutive year of paid attendance with 79,502,524 at the end of the season. With the Nationals opening up a new ballpark, the odds of breaking 80 million seem nearly a lock.
To add to this, watch 2009. The launch of the MLB Network, continued growth of MLBAM, the opening of New Yankee Stadium, and Citi Field by the Mets will add even more to the coffers.
Maury Brown is the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football and The Biz of Basketball (The Biz of Hockey will be launching shortly). He is also an author for Baseball Prospectus, Basketball Prospectus and is an available writer for other media outlets.
He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted here.