Major League Baseball is projecting gross revenues of $7 billion for 2010, continuing a run of record-breaking years, and bucking the chilly economy. Attendance for the league was ostensibly flat in 2010 (down 0.42 percent), with the Mets seeing steep declines, and the Yankees lowering premium ticket prices from “ultra-expensive” to just “expensive” this season, if projections hold true, MLB will see a jump of $400 million from this year to last. In 2009, final revenues were $6.6 billion up from $6.5 billion in 2008. The increase from 2009 to the projected 2010 figure is a remarkable 6.06 percent increase, an incredible jump in an economy that continues to run chilly.
How were the increases reached? Sources at Major League Baseball say one big component is local television deals that have annual escalators. The other is for expiring TV deals in the very competitive market where regional sports networks (RSNs) are clamoring for more live content, there are significant increases.
One would expect firm numbers by the beginning of next year, but it’s very clear that projections of a “glum” year were far off the mark. Even if the projections were off by a large sum, the league will see one of the largest increases in total revenues, ever. And, reaching the once unfathomable $7 billion mark is now in reach.
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, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. 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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