The Tampa Bay Rays have had one of the least lucrative television deals among major league teams over the past decade. Their current deal, signed in 2009, has typically paid them $20-30 million per year. Due to that and due to poor attendance, the Rays have claimed that they have had no choice but to carry some of the lowest payrolls in baseball year-by-year.
John Ourand and Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Daily report, however, that the Rays will soon see their TV revenues increase dramatically due to them nearing a long-term extension with Fox Sports Net. The deal, which will pay them $50 million in 2019, will gradually increase to an average of $82 million a year over the course of a 16-year term. Ourand and Kaplan say that the Rays are currently slated to receive close to $35 million this season, the last one under the old deal.
The Rays, as we have noted at some length in recent days, have made a series of moves that appear to be set in motion by the need to cut or, at the very least, maintain current payroll, shedding arbitration-eligible players and avoiding even moderately expensive free agents. It’ll be interesting to see if they continue that course going forward.