It’s been morbid fun watching Frank McCourt press to meet the Dodgers payroll, thereby holding off a takeover from Major League Baseball. Last month we saw him mortgage his future a little bit. The expectation this month was that he’d be sunk, given that Manny Ramirez is owed a big chunk of money in deferred compensation. Certainly MLB would have to step in on June 15th, right?
Well, no, not if Bob Nightengale’s report is accurate. He says that other MLB owners are being told that McCourt has the money to meet the mid-month payroll.
It’s unclear where this money is coming from, what with attendance way down at Dodger Stadium and McCourt still leveraged to the gills. My guess: he got Kelly, Ozone, Turbo and a young Ice-T to put on a big performance that will simultaneously help the Dodgers make payroll, and save the neighborhood rec center.
UPDATE: Bill Shaikin says that Frank McCourt is playing coy about it and won’t say if he has the funds to meet June 15th payroll. Maybe he wants it to be a surprise at the big jam at the end of the movie. Er, I mean, when payroll comes due.
Earlier this year Disney agreed to purchase the majority stake in BAMTech, the digital media company spun off from MLB Advanced Media. We know it as the source of the technology for MLB.tv and MLB.com, but it’s far more wide-ranging than that now. At present it powers streaming for MLB, HBO, NHL, WWE, and, eventually, will power Disney’s and ESPN’s upcoming streaming services.
The company was started by an investment from baseball’s 30 owners, so they’re getting a big payout as a result of the acquisition. Earlier this morning Jim Bowden dropped this regarding how much of that payout is in the offing in the short term:
That’s probably on the low end, actually. Some people I’ve spoken to who are familiar with the acquisition say the figure is more like $68 million in Q1 of 2018.
Good for the owners! It was a savvy, forward-thinking investment that, in the past, baseball owners might not have made. Bud Selig, Bob Bowman and others deserve credit for convincing the Jeff Lorias and Jerry Reinsdorfs of the world to think big and long term. It’s money out of the sky, raining down upon the owner of your baseball team for, basically, doing nothing.
Money which should be remembered when your buddy complains about a relief pitcher getting $6 million for only pitching 65 innings. Money which should be remembered when your team’s GM says that he has to cut back on payroll in the coming year.