Marlins’ president David Samson has a lot left on his to-do list this year.
During the club’s annual FanFest at Marlins Park on Saturday, Samson discussed some of the key decisions that face the team over the next several months. One item on their agenda is a potential naming rights deal. Per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, Samson has narrowed the list of candidates to three, though he’s still seeking some clarity as he makes his final selection:
There’s still three companies, and we cannot figure out which direction we’re going to go in. I still want to get it done before the All-Star Game. It’s such a long-term decision. I don’t want to make the wrong one.
The Marlins are also considering a revision to their TV contract before the 2018 season. Their partnership with FOX isn’t set to expire until 2020, and Samson believes that it’s already failed to bring in adequate revenue.
He’s not wrong. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the club entered the 2016 season with one of the lowest payrolls among major league teams, hampered in large part by the annual $20 million sum they received from FOX Sports. Jackson reports that it was “the lowest of any cable contract in baseball,” while proposed negotiations to raise the Marlins’ rights fee led nowhere.
Things are a little different as the Marlins look to the 2017 season — for one thing, player payroll is back up over $100 million, and there have been strong rumors that a new owner is on the brink of acquiring the club. How this will affect their plans for a new TV deal remains to be seen. In additional comments made on Saturday, Samson said the current arrangement was “no fault of anybody’s but mine,” though it seems likely that the Marlins would take their business elsewhere if they can’t agree to a more profitable extension with FOX in the future.