With the economy dominating the headlines, sports leagues are far from impervious to the fallout of what is now officially a recession. Today on Baseball Prospectus, I take an in-depth look at how the economy will shape the 2009 season, even before it starts. From layoffs in the front office, to restructuring of ticket prices, to how clubs are approaching the free agent market, it is business unusual for MLB.
The question is, will locked in centralized revenues from television deals, the upcoming MLB Network launch, revenues from the WBC, and other sources help buffer the league? As reported in The Ledger Domain: MLB Meets the Recession:
Large-revenue-making clubs may barely feel the recession's impact, while low- to mid-revenue makers might be bracing for a collision of major proportions. Even with strong centralized revenues, all of the clubs are approaching this season much more cautiously than ever before. Could the market rate for free agents be set lower under the auspices of the recession by some clubs, when in reality they may be relatively unscathed by the downturn?Select the link above to read the entire article
MLB has been able to grow its revenues through prior economic declines, something the MLBPA has taken note of.
"Baseball is historically resistant to economic downturns, but we will have to see what happens in the current circumstances," said Gregory Bouris, a spokesman for the players' union. "We will of course monitor the free-agent market closely, as we always do, for any indication of adverse effects of the economy, or for any other reason."
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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