23 comments for “The business of Mets baseball Part III – Does ownership matter?

  1. October 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Boy, I sure hope you’re right about the finances. And yes, as long as the front office has the cash and freedom it needs to operate successfully, I could care less that the Wilpons are making money hand over fist. (Though it’d be nice if they threw us fans a bone and upped payroll a bit now in anticipation of the salary falloff and TV contract windfall so that 2013 isn’t a lost year. But I guess you’ve covered that already.) Enjoyed the series, Mack. Nice to read a positive take about the financial future of the club every once in a while.

    • Mack Ade
      October 2, 2012 at 4:39 pm

      Chris, the money will be there, but not because of the Wilpons. It’s all media money and this is why you buy into a sports franchise.

    • Mack Ade
      October 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      Chris –

      I wrote this before going to the hospital and gave it Brian for Sunday, but the deal went down today so we put it up.

      The deal is done. It’s a 100% increase of revenue… only 30 teams

  2. TJ
    October 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Good articles. Hope you are felling better. Bottom line to me, there is no excuse to short-change the 2013 payroll and product on the field. It would be poor business sense. Yes, they can freeze or reduce payroll and perhaps break even, but the risk of having a lousy team and further damaging the brand will be high. If they spend wisely this winter, they can fill some gaping holes, have a chance at winning in the mid 80s, and remove so much of the negativity in the fan base. Even if they run an operating loss, and even though it is not my money, that loss could well be a wise investment. Another $95 million payroll in 2013, another year like this, risking even a worse record, will make winning in 2014 a real tough sell. Spend $115 to $120 a get a professional CF, a real closer, and a power RH bat to cover DW, and bring on the 2013 season.

    • Steve S.
      October 3, 2012 at 8:08 am

      Bingo! You’ve got it, TJ! Add better catching and more bullpen help, and we’re competitive!

  3. Chris F
    October 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Mack, will this have any implications for MLB.tv that you can envision?

  4. Charles
    October 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Mack does this mean the Mets will receive nearly fifty million annually from these deals? And if so, why must the payroll remain at 95-100 million this yr? Isn’t it in their best interest to field the best team possible in 2013 to try to get the fans back with the hopes of truly driving them into Citi once the team is ready in 2014? Why not sick it up for a year, spend the cash, knowing that major relief is coming in ’14 once Bay and Santana are gone. Now, I’ve heard about this deal, but never knew about the amounts they’ve reviewed.

    Even half that amount received(which would be what they have been getting), 25 million annually, is a big nut in itself. When you take that figure into account, along with 20 million in naming rights, having your own regional sports network(any), and 2+million in attendance, how the heck could they still be bleeding cash?

    • Chris F
      October 2, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      Exactly. I read on ESPN that they are afraid they cant sign Hairston because hes gonna demand more than 1.1M$.

      I dont get it either.

      • Steve S.
        October 3, 2012 at 8:10 am

        I was thinking that Hairston was worth $4-5 million for two years….

  5. October 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    The thing to keep in mind here is that the Mets still have substantial debt. They needed to take out a loan from MLB just to meet payroll and then another loan from the banks. They sold the minority shares to pay off those obligations and meet other debt payments. But those debt payments haven’t gone away and the money from the minority shares is likely all gone. And while they didn’t lose as much money as they did in 2011, they still lost money this year.

    The TV contracts are very good news for the Wilpons but right now it’s good news that allows them to keep the team – not to reinvest in payroll.

  6. Charles
    October 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Doesn’t seem fair that all revenues are going towards their debt. They should have kept good old Shea…this Citifield has been a curse!!! The television money is like free cash. Use the minority stake money on your debt and use the excess millions on packing the house.

  7. October 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Here’s a partial listing of their debt:

    $50 million annual interest payments on the nearly $700 million in bonds used to finance Citi Field construction.

    • A combined $50 million in annual interest payments on hefty loans against the team and regional sports network SportsNet New York, of which the Wilpons own 65 percent.

    • A $430 million loan against the team that comes due June 2, 2014.

    • A $450 million loan against SNY that comes due June 4, 2015.

    • 7rain
      October 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      That is a lot of debt.

    • Steve S.
      October 3, 2012 at 8:11 am

      Makes the Mets sound like the U.S. Government!

    • Metsense
      October 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

      Doesn’t the $430M in 2014 and $450M in 2015 just get refinanced by the bank and only the intersest and very little principle are ever really paid? If this is the case, then the TV deals make the debt less daunting.

  8. norme
    October 2, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I’m really not sure which I want more; a winning Mets team or getting rid of the Wilpons. I know it’s a personal failing of mine, but I really
    don’t want to see Jeffie walking around with a stupid smirk on his face when the Mets become successful. I can only speak for myself, but I
    probably need a good therapist to help me understand why I root for a team owned by people I dislike/distrust.

    I just realized that Knicks fans have been doing it for years.

  9. Mack Ade
    October 2, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Well, Brian seems to have a better grasp on the debt so my post was moot.

    I would have appreciated it if we could have discussed this before you posted my part 3.

  10. 7rain
    October 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    I see the Wilpon’s clearing their debt before going whole hog into the whole FA thing again but even when the debt is retired if that is the plan there will always a few Mo Vaughn’s, Oliver Perez’ and Jason Bay’s we can’t wait to get out from under and this team will never consistently compete for a post season let alone a World Championship.

  11. October 2, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    When you stated the ESPN and Fox/TBS new contracts, I thought the totals you gave were to distributed among the 30 teams equally. 1.5 billion divided by 30 is 50 million not 500 million which you stated incorrectly.I do not see the increase in media dollars changing the payroll levels until Bay and Santana are gone

    • Name
      October 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      Yea i was thinking the same thing as you. Therotically it’s 50 million and not 500 million, but i don’t think all the teams are getting that much. What the Wilpons decide to do with the extra money is anyone’s guess, but most likely i don’t see them reinvesting that money on the team this year.

  12. David Groveman
    October 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Great article!

    I’d love to know what profits SNY is making the Wilpons

  13. Mack Ade
    October 3, 2012 at 10:25 am

    FOR THE RECORD… this post was written a week before the announcement came out… I sent it to Brian as a third part in a series of posts in it’s first form.

    Brian had his opportunity to edit (as he always does) and pointed out nothing to me at the time because, I assume, he decided to save his comments once this post came out.

    He knew I didn’t have the numbers correct, but let me forge ahead anyway, while laying in a hospital with a 104.5 fever.

    I then went into the hospital. The announcement came out and I had the figures wrong. Brian led the charge.

    I have asked that this post be removed and I can’t seem to get that done.



    • David Groveman
      October 4, 2012 at 8:47 am

      I didn’t notice that there was an issue with the numbers. I think the substance of the post was still excellent. Don’t let things get you down.

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