Forbes’ Maury Brown is reporting that, for the 17th year in a row, Major League Baseball has set a new revenue record, raking in $10.7 Billion in 2019. That’s up from $10.3 billion the year before.
What’s more, growth is poised to accelerate soon. Whereas revenue has increased relatively incrementally over the past couple of seasons, new television deals, including the national deal with Fox which goes up some 40% over the current deal, are going to begin kicking in soon, which should see things ramp up dramatically. The billion dollar deal with Nike — which put all the swooshes on the uniforms — also begins paying out in 2020. Other sponsorship deals — “The official [whatever] of Major League Baseball!” — remain significant sources of revenue increases as well.
Forbes notes that ticket revenue is holding steady despite an attendance decline, which means that the league is simply extracting more dollars per fan than they used to. Meanwhile, current player payroll for the league was $4.7 billion. This offseason is still ongoing so it’s too early to tell where things will end up in 2020, but in 2018, average player salaries declined for the first time in 14 years and this year’s qualifying offer — which is based on a subset of average salaries — went down as well.
In other news, Major League Baseball continues to press its plan to eliminate over 40 minor league teams while asking the remaining teams to help subsidize its operations.
Buster Posey has opted out of the 2020 MLB season. The San Francisco Giants have issued a statement saying that they “fully support Buster’s decision. Buster is an integral part of our team and will be sorely missed, but we look forward to having him back in 2021.”
Posey and his wife are adopting identical twin girls who were born prematurely and who are currently in the NICU and will be for some time. They are stable, but obviously theirs is not a situation that would be amenable to the demands of a baseball season as it’s currently structured.
Poset had missed all of the Giants’ workouts so far, Recently he said, “I think there’s still some reservation on my end as well. I think I want to see kind of how things progress here over the next couple of weeks. I think it would be a little bit maybe naive or silly not to gauge what’s going on around you, not only around you here but paying attention to what’s happening in the country and different parts of the country.” He said that he talked about playing with his wife quite a great deal but, really, this seems like a no-brainer decision on his part.
In opting out Posey is foregoing the 60-game proration of his $21.4 million salary. He is under contract for one more year at $21.4 million as well. The Giants can pick up his 2022 club option for $22 million or buy him out for $3 million.
A veteran of 11 seasons, Posey has earned about $124 million to date. Which seems to be the common denominator with players who have opted out thus far. With the exception of Joe Ross and Héctor Noesí, the players to have opted out thus far have earned well above $10 million during their careers. Players that aren’t considered “high risk” and elect not to play do not get paid and do not receive service time.