Ken Rosenthal spoke with Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees, about the revenue sharing system and the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations which helps to establish how revenue is shared. You will not be surprised to learn that the president of the team which brings in the most revenue and pays out the most in revenue sharing doesn’t much care for how much his team has to pay.
And he doesn’t much like how little the Mets have to, comparatively speaking:
“What is very burdensome to us — and is unfair — is the amount of money we have to pay in revenue sharing compared, for example, to teams in our market that pay 10 times less than us,” Yankees president Randy Levine told FOX Sports.
As Rosenthal notes, revenue sharing is calculated via a formula related to net local revenue. The Yankees have revenue that is less than twice that of the Mets but pay a proportionally larger amount to revenue sharing than the Mets. Of course, as is the case with anything related to money in baseball, the reason for this all comes down to the many ways — most of which are opaque to those outside of the ownership ranks — income and expenses are characterized. Obviously the Mets don’t do as well as the Yankees do financially, but how much worse is a matter of nuance and accounting. And, in cases like this, angry public statements.
This is an old battle. Revenue sharing scenarios come and go and change over time, but there has always been tension between the richest teams and those which are not so rich. Or claim to not be as rich as they are. The 1994 strike was, in large part, fueled by these tensions. Battles between owners played a role that was as big if not bigger than the battles between owners and players. The tensions were exacerbated by the fact that the lower-revenue owners actually had more power due to Bud Selig leading their caucus.
It’s doubtful that these tensions will lead to a similarly combustable situation this time around. There is simply more money in the game now and everyone is generally doing well. Levine even says that he is sure an agreement will be reached. But it does show that the business dynamics of baseball don’t change as much across eras as do the size of the checks the owners cash.