UPDATE: I spoke to a source with knowledge of the Pirates’ TV deal, and the source tells me that the deal is not in the top half of MLB TV deals in terms of average annual value. Far from it. If, as Coonelly says, the Pirates are in the top half of all deals it’s a function of some front-loading of the deal and that gave them a lot of TV money in 2013 and that, as time goes on, the deal will look worse and worse.
This definitely would reflect market size. And makes one wonder why Coonelly would be trying to talk up the TV deal as better than it really is.
10:20 AM: That is, if team President Frank Coonelly is being accurate here. Bob Smizik of the Post-Gazette reports Coonelly’s comments at a recent fan fest thing:
”Our TV contract places us in the top half of all Major League Baseball clubs even though our market ranks 27th out of 30. We are well positioned moving forward.”
This runs contrary to Wendy Thurm’s report at Fangraphs on team-by-team TV revenue and, frankly, runs counter to what most people would expect based on the size of the market. Is Root Sports overpaying the Pirates? Are all of the other other networks underpaying the teams they broadcast?
And, as Smizik wonders, is the Pirates payroll too low for a team making as much money as the Pirates are, accordng to Coonelly anyway, making? Smizik estimates that a top-half TV deal puts them in the $35 million to $40 million range on local TV money, not the $18 million to $20 million range Thurm and others estimate.
Interesting stuff about a topic that, increasingly, is dominating the discourse when it comes to the business of major league baseball.