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The Florida Marlins Love Living on Welfare PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 01 March 2008 13:05

LoriaPayroll for the Florida Marlins will increase from its ridiculously low levels, but not this year, and most likely not for a few years to come.

That’s the word from owner Jeffrey Loria.

In fact, if you thought they were low last season, this year will show just how low you can go, cutting payroll (again), by as much as a third. As reported by The AP:

A new stadium means the notoriously frugal Marlins plan to increase their payroll, but not until the team moves into the new park.

The Marlins’ payroll for 2008 is projected to be around $20 million, the lowest in the league and $10 million lower than last season.

“It’s a function of revenues, and we were not really able to derive any revenues out of this facility,” Loria said of the team’s current home, Dolphin Stadium. “As we get closer to the (new) stadium, those things will change. We need to be in that facility.”

The new stadium, built on the site of the decaying Orange Bowl, had funding pass ($515 million, with the county kicking in $347 million, or 67 percent of the total. The city will contribute $13 million in hotel bed taxes, throw in as much as $10 million to raze the Orange Bowl and be in charge of building the parking structure. For their part, each year, the Marlins will, supposedly, off-set the costs of the city by then re-selling the spaces) just over a week ago, and still has a legal challenge to get through. But, if matters continue in the direction they are headed, the new stadium groundbreaking would be this coming November, with a 2011 projected opening date.

On the player payroll at $20 million, that would be $5 million less than what the club will receive in revenue-sharing, which is projected to be $25 million. Apparently, a “function of the revenues” is to make a mockery of the revenue-sharing system, and do a good bit of profit making.

Forbes estimated that the Marlins posted $43.3 million in operating income last year. That operating income included earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. How did the Marlins rate in terms of operating income – a measure of profit – compared to their other 29 counterparts? They were first with the Dodgers in second at $25.5 million, a difference of 41 percent.

Cut your margins enough (low player payroll) and regardless of whether you have embarrassingly low attendance by rolling out a team of made up with what can best be described as replacement level players, take in a healthy level of revenue-sharing, and what you have is a prime example of Jeffrey Loria and David Samson living on corporate welfare.

This author is opposed to a salary floor, but the Marlins make it hard for me to keep that position year after year. Pathetic.

Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is also a contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network



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