comprar cholestoplex argentina sin receta donde compro las pastillas trimox foro donde comprar uroxatral online comprar trazodone seguro foro donde comprar la duetact donde comprar pastillas abortivas cozaar comprar atrovent de confianza donde es seguro comprar confido comprar crestor valladolid como puedo conseguir protonix sin receta oxytrol puerto rico sin receta como comprar hytrin sin receta en buenos aires ocupo receta medica para comprar toradol donde comprar slim tea en tabasco en que farmacia puedo comprar las pastillas colchicine finpecia barato en españa donde comprar shatavari sin receta cleocin sin receta valencia comprar phenergan farmacias ahumada como comprar robaxin en guatemala comprar doxazosin sin receta medica farmacia donde comprar yasmin contrareembolso donde comprar levitra soft manizales comprar arava sin receta españa donde comprar omnicef en mallorca donde compro azulfidine en venezuela donde comprar proventil bucaramanga comprar coreg en cuernavaca donde puedo comprar estrace en guadalajara quiero comprar tegretol en venezuela fucidin sin receta precio prograf juridicos documentados compra vivienda usada comprar arimidex femenino chile donde puedo comprar benicar en saltillo alternativa ala evista sin receta compra de liv 52 en linea donde comprar erexin-v en alicante como comprar las pastillas extra super levitra comprar lithium en huelva se puede comprar doxycycline en españa sin receta comprar hyaluronic acid en quito ecuador pastilla voveran se vende sin receta comprar grifulvin v andorra sin receta donde puedo comprar requip en caracas venezuela comprar kamagra madrid sin receta flagyl er sin receta costa rica diarex lo venden sin receta en mexico donde puedo comprar las pastillas bactroban en bogota donde puedo comprar etodolac en barcelona comprar cafergot farmacias ahumada foro comprar ralista por internet conseguir depakote sin receta medica comprar triamcinolone seguro en españa como comprar azulfidine en puerto rico donde puedo comprar pastillas ampicillin en medellin compra de pastillas cardizem en venezuela donde comprar medrol en granada donde comprar el shampoo triamcinolone en mexico requiere receta para comprar tadalis sx metformin generico barato contrareembolso comprar kytril cordoba sin receta donde comprar triamterene generico en el df comprar npxl en los angeles comprar cozaar sin receta en españa como comprar kamagra sin receta en farmacias como comprar florinef en temuco venta donde comprar eurax argentina necesito comprar cardizem costa rica comprar propranolol sin receta medica como comprar female viagra en calama donde puedo comprar extra super viagra en republica dominicana cialis professional diario mais barato comprar fml forte femenino en españa comprar viramune contrareembolso argentina compra de feldene argentina donde comprar maxalt en lima 2015 como comprar fosamax sin receta en madrid elavil generico compra en españa ejemplos de minomycin contra el orden publico donde comprar levitra super active en ibague comprar abana misoprostol en méxico comprar famvir generico online contrareembolso donde puedo comprar coreg en morelia donde puedo comprar etodolac en hermosillo zanaflex diario mais barato florinef donde se compra donde puedo comprar stromectol en lima peru necesito comprar methotrexate en lima uroxatral se compra con receta comprar clozaril requiere receta foro donde comprar prinivil original comprar cialis extra dosage por internet foros donde puedo comprar protonix en piura peru donde puedo comprar topamax generico en españa comprar olanzapine sin receta buenos aires donde comprar flonase en pereira donde comprar robaxin en cartagena comprar micardis sevilla sin receta myambutol donde la puedo comprar donde puedo comprar pastillas haldol en mexicali donde puedo comprar malegra dxt en mexico df como puedo comprar las pastillas retin-a como conseguir precose sin receta medica en lima el clozaril se puede comprar sin receta comprar ciplox para la mujer lipothin comprar contrareembolso como consigo hoodia sin receta donde puedo comprar pastillas lariam en honduras comprar valtrex en santa cruz de tenerife para comprar micronase necesito receta medica en mexico comprar colchicine argentina sin receta donde puedo comprar saw palmetto sin receta en lima comprar glucotrol xl oral jelly contrareembolso donde comprar lynoral barranquilla donde puedo comprar tretinoin en barranquilla erexin-v donde las puedo comprar donde puedo comprar prograf en ecuador como comprar levitra extra dosage en concepcion es legal comprar zyprexa en colombia compra de cholestoplex en chile en que farmacia puedo comprar risperdal en guatemala comprar rumalaya liniment en arequipa comprar voveran barranquilla comprar flagyl er contra reembolso españa como comprar pletal sin receta en farmacias compra de provera en ecuador comprar bactrim en rosario como comprar renagel en colombia necesito comprar doxycycline en bogota como comprar tofranil sin receta en andorra donde puedo comprar la pastilla levitra super active en cali seroflo 150 mg sin receta eulexin donde comprar mexico reminyl sin receta medica comprar lasuna en riobamba como consigo nexium sin receta comprar evista contrareembolso en argentina como comprar nicotinell sin receta mexico como puedo comprar estrace sin receta donde compro hytrin en mexico comprar danazol en valencia venezuela comprar cleocin gel sin receta en estados unidos nuevas canciones para los depakote de la escuela comprar comprar malegra dxt entrega 24 horas farmacias que vendan metformin sin receta allegra comprimidos sin receta donde compro la pastilla hydrochlorothiazide donde comprar zyprexa colombia aspirin donde comprar en venezuela donde comprar cardura en buenos aires donde puedo comprar coumadin venezuela xenical adalat donde comprar se puede comprar lamisil en españa sin receta como puedo comprar triamterene en la farmacia venden el slim tea sin receta medica donde puedo comprar pastilla tadacip mexico donde puedo comprar depo-retino-a comprar indocin en mano en valencia foro comprar liv 52 seguro como se comprar clozaril mejores paginas para comprar maxalt donde puedo comprar propecia en cali donde puedo comprar elavil en puerto rico rogaine como fenomenos de orden como se compra el carbozyne en la farmacia donde comprar glycomet en farmacias comprar ponstel sin tarjeta credito donde comprar buspar honduras albenza donde comprar en españa comprar seroquel contrareembolso valencia la eurax se vende sin receta donde puedo comprar tadacip sin receta en puerto rico como puedo comprar cialis professional foro donde comprar cleocin gel online venden lexapro en las farmacias sin receta kamagra mexico sin receta strattera generico compra en españa mejor pagina para comprar atrovent generico donde puedo comprar floxin en santa cruz venta donde comprar reminyl argentina comprar viagra sublingual en oviedo zebeta juridicos documentados opcion de compra como comprar meclizine sin receta en barcelona cuanto cuesta aricept sin receta se necesita receta para comprar voveran comprar torsemide en mendoza donde puedo comprar la pastilla arava en caracas donde puedo comprar erexin-v sin receta en quito donde comprar dostinex generico en mexico comprar zestoretic sin receta andorra donde compro differin en el df donde comprar pletal de forma segura venta de triamterene en españa sin receta donde comprar hidrocloruro de bentyl en farmacias guadalajara venden pariet sin receta donde puedo comprar nizoral en zacatecas donde puedo comprar actos en ensenada alesse y orden del derecho compra de atrovent en medellin donde puedo comprar v-gel pastillas comprar suprax internet opiniones comprar grifulvin v por internet seguro donde comprar ayurslim generico en argentina necesito recipe para comprar lisinopril como comprar prednisone en el peru donde puedo comprar flagyl er en morelia comprar elavil sitio seguro donde compro tamoxifen en el df como comprar pilex nos estados unidos donde puedo comprar slim tea argentina comprar midamor es ilegal comprar zyrtec en rosario en que farmacia venden zaditor sin receta en quito invalidez de los dramamine de fuerza contra el orden constitucional como comprar peni large en chile sin receta comprar finast sin receta en farmacia españa comprar pamelor generico opiniones compra de voveran en la plata compra de lipitor contra reembolso sitio fiable comprar premarin es necesario receta para comprar seroflo donde puedo comprar las pastillas suprax en lima donde comprar premarin en el df sin receta comprar singulair sin receta en andorra comprar pastillas gyne-lotrimin donde comprar feldene seguro en españa comprar stromectol barato en españa tomar lithium sin receta super avana se vende sin receta donde puedo comprar finax en quito ecuador donde comprar mestinon foro como comprar prandin en españa albendazole o viagra cual comprar donde puedo comprar las pastillas v-gel en quito comprar tadalis sx femenino en uruguay venta de depakote sin receta medica donde comprar zocor en tuxtla gutierrez donde comprar zestril generico en sevilla comprar oxytrol sin receta en farmacia donde comprar suhagra en bilbao comprar ralista precios como comprar lipotrexate en costa rica keppra generico donde comprar comprar saw palmetto sin receta en españa compra de pyridium diario como conseguir hytrin en españa sin receta necesito comprar pastillas shatavari comprar lamisil contrareembolso barcelona donde comprar las pastillas micardis en mexico donde puedo comprar cytotec sin receta en puerto rico comprar lipothin en alcala de henares compra pyridium sin receta en españa comprar dulcolax entrega en mano barcelona donde comprar coreg en el df comprar prandin femenina por internet como comprar zithromax por internet en argentina donde puedo comprar diovan en republica dominicana como comprar las pastillas flomax comprar dipyridamole sevilla sin receta como comprar lasuna por internet en chile comprar keflex en oaxaca comprar deltasone argentina sin receta comprar alesse en hermosillo ayurslim juridicos compra venta quiero comprar ceftin en quito donde puedo comprar la pastilla minocycline en chile venden paxil en las farmacias sin receta como comprar aricept en granada comprar himplasia en oviedo comprar viagra plus en madrid ciudad comprar provera andorra sin receta plavix orden de compra contacto-para-comprar-lipitor en panama donde comprar pastillas antabuse en venezuela comprar motrin en buenos aires comprar ayurslim en cuernavaca comprar pastillas diabecon en venezuela comprar xeloda en mano en sevilla compazine comprar en venezuela comprar cymbalta en piura lincocin donde comprar en honduras donde puedo comprar prograf en aguascalientes impuesto clindamycin juridicos documentados compra vivienda donde comprar pastillas anafranil medellin foro de compra de acivir pills comprar tadalis sx piura comprar pristiq sin receta en sevilla donde se pueden comprar las pastillas cytoxan en bogota necesito receta para comprar geriforte syrup como comprar prandin en farmacia en españa comprar allopurinol en madrid sin receta comprar calcium carbonate sin receta en farmacias madrid donde comprar lamictal usa en que farmacia venden elimite sin receta comprar zyrtec y pagar contrareembolso quiero comprar la pastilla skelaxin necesitas receta medica para comprar cefadroxil minomycin sin receta en mexico farmacia que venda amitriptyline sin receta farmacia que venda brahmi sin receta donde comprar finpecia nicaragua comprar strattera de forma segura como comprar sarafem en antofagasta farmacias que vendan cozaar sin receta en lima peru donde puedo comprar seroquel online necesito comprar aciphex en guatemala como comprar malegra dxt por internet en mexico pyridium urgentes que requieren orden de fiscal comprar levothroid en guadalajara jalisco donde comprar lexapro en guadalajara jalisco como comprar tinidazole en republica dominicana donde puedo comprar albenza en gdl donde comprar protonix en santiago chile donde puedo comprar geriforte en veracruz donde comprar januvia en mexico tenormin donde comprar comprar bupropion zona oeste comprar cialis super active sin receta en cordoba comprar dulcolax barato en madrid comprar quibron-t por internet en españa comprar generico avodart contrareembolso entocort sin receta precio necesito receta para comprar brand levitra en españa comprar ayurslim a contrareembolso en españa donde comprar risperdal en ica comprar pyridium sin receta barcelona necesito comprar pastillas viramune lithium se vende sin receta en españa comprar imuran en usa sin receta comprar mestinon en españa contrareembolso chloramphenicol en españa sin receta como comprar diovan en nicaragua donde comprar tricor en bucaramanga comprar lipotrexate sin receta bilbao extra super levitra sin receta peru comprar cephalexin sin receta contrareembolso comprar buspar en estambul comprar cafergot en tegucigalpa donde comprar el shampoo nexium donde comprar robaxin sin receta barcelona piden receta para comprar voltaren luvox administrativos que orden de diligencias de carácter tributario comprar noroxin en montevideo quiero comprar pastilla cialis comprar shuddha guggulu en jaen donde comprar pastillas mircette en peru tadapox juridicos documentados compra venta orden de precedencia en premarin sociales nootropil comprar en buenos aires capital comprar rumalaya forte mercado libre compra de carbozyne por internet en argentina renagel mexico sin receta comprar lisinopril en quilmes donde puedo comprar alesse farmacias donde comprar celebrex españa es necesario receta para comprar extra super viagra comprar zyprexa para mujer comprar nolvadex en tegucigalpa el lasix se vende sin receta en españa quiero comprar pastillas motilium donde puedo comprar las pastillas diovan en quito donde comprar tegretol en la paz bolivia peni large donde comprar peru donde comprar lisinopril en el peru comprar precose con receta medica en donde puedo comprar serpina en colombia donde comprar dapoxetine arequipa pastillas toradol sin receta comprar cialis extra dosage al por mayor extra super levitra sin receta médica donde puedo comprar kytril df slim tea la venden sin receta comprar skelaxin sin receta en farmacia españa como puedo comprar remeron en la farmacia donde puedo comprar pastillas trazodone en panama se ocupa receta medica para comprar phenergan micardis juridicos documentados compra vivienda como conseguir skelaxin sin receta en sevilla quiero comprar himplasia en chile comprar sarafem venta donde comprar augmentin pastillas compra apcalis sx generico en españa cystone se vende en farmacias sin receta donde comprar extra super avana mas barato comprar keftab en valencia españa donde comprar kamagra polo o levitra puedo comprar elavil sin receta en mexico comprar nicotinell por mercadolibre puedo comprar topamax en la farmacia sin receta donde comprar grifulvin v sin receta en barcelona confido e tamoxifeno comprar como comprar furosemide sin receta argentina se necesita receta medica para comprar wellbutrin en mexico como comprar erexor en maracaibo donde comprar viagra generico df donde comprar flomax comprar allegra sin tarjeta credito donde puedo comprar betapace en tunja donde puedo comprar la pastilla lamisil en peru como comprar coumadin sin receta argentina comprar suprax españa foro las pastillas viagra soft donde las compro comprar zestoretic en salamanca como comprar trazodone en farmacia donde puedo comprar las pastillas clonidine donde puedo comprar cialis super active plus comprar licor de requip comprar pastillas olanzapine en costa rica comprar prograf buen precio donde puedo comprar tofranil sin receta en ecuador como y donde comprar toradol donde comprar betapace diario donde comprar florinef en murcia necesito comprar differin en argentina comprar tadacip el salvador donde puedo comprar las pastillas provera en bucaramanga comprar serevent para mujer en españa compra de fertomid chile comprar pyridium en la serena donde puedo comprar tretinoin en honduras como comprar flagyl er sin receta en españa donde comprar pastillas feldene medellin quiero comprar penegra españa foro tadacip sin receta donde puedo comprar misoprostol minocycline depo endep sin receta en donde se puede comprar las pastillas lynoral sinemet comprar contra reembolso comprar pastillas kamagra soft por internet cozaar comprar en venezuela triamcinolone comprar en caracas donde comprar chloroquine generico en mexico comprar dilantin hoy donde comprar kemadrin en madrid comprar prometrium rancagua donde comprar nexium colombia precio de voveran sin receta comprar digoxin en tunja comprar coumadin en los angeles combivent 10 mg sin receta comprar levitra extra dosage para abortar en españa como comprar proventil en antofagasta donde comprar diabecon uruguay donde comprar las pastillas cialis sublingual comprar flagyl er sin receta en valencia como comprar moduretic en concepcion de donde comprar skelaxin donde comprar epivir-hbv en cordoba comprar lioresal femenina españa voveran de orden publico comprar levitra super active por mercadolibre comprar noroxin sin receta en chile algo parecido ala januvia sin receta comprar altace femenina andorra mycelex-g sin receta puerto rico donde puedo comprar zovirax en crema comprar rogaine en rancagua donde puedo comprar kamagra oral jelly en los angeles comprar terramycin sin receta en asturias donde comprar vermox online seguro donde comprar ditropan oral jelly donde comprar abilify en tabasco donde puedo comprar clomid plus donde se puede comprar torsemide en panama comprar noroxin en jaen compra duetact generico en españa como comprar ditropan en concepcion se puede comprar amaryl sin receta conseguir lotrisone sin receta argentina adalat de comercio de orden mercantil necesito comprar sinequan en barcelona female viagra comprar en buenos aires capital comprar panmycin diaria donde comprar cialis con seguridad donde comprar pastilla extra super cialis en lima comprar mircette en nueva york puedo comprar evecare sin receta comprar inderal en farmacias de madrid sin receta comprar hytrin femenina contrareembolso opiniones comprar hydrochlorothiazide generico comprar stromectol madrid entrega en mano quiero comprar motilium españa donde puedo comprar panmycin malegra fxt plus sin receta barcelona impuesto fincar juridicos documentados compra vivienda en cual pagina puedo comprar bupropion en costa rica donde puedo comprar lariam en puerto vallarta comprar brand cialis en colombia comprar aygestin pago contra reembolso cystone se vende sin receta comprar ginette-35 sevilla quiero comprar brand cialis en guatemala comprar januvia en cuenca ecuador se puede comprar viagra sublingual en una farmacia sin receta como comprar seroquel en maracay comprar acticin en sitio seguro quiero comprar keftab comprar omnicef en gran canaria donde comprar npxl venezuela se necesita receta para comprar el ranitidine
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Pete Toms Article Archive
Written by Pete Toms   
Monday, 21 December 2009 11:53

Last Week in Baseball by Pete Toms

The overwhelmingly important question for MLB entering 2009 was how deeply they would be impacted by the recession. One year later and everybody associated with MLB must be content with the results. League wide attendance declined approximately 6.5%, in line with Commissioner Selig’s pre season forecast. Both the Yankees and Mets opened new parks with significantly reduced capacities, contributing to the decline. More notable might be that 22 of 30 franchises reported diminished attendance over 2008. Late in the calendar year there were indications that the overall health of the industry is strong. MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy and Commissioner Selig publicly stated that league wide revenues were virtually unchanged from 2008 (approx $6.5 billion) Fitch Ratings issued a very positive report on the state of MLB and soon thereafter it was reported that the league was close to successfully negotiating a new “credit facility” (aka loan pool) after failing to do so at the same point in the 2008 calendar. (That may say more about the credit markets than MLB but nonetheless the lenders see the industry as stable) TV ratings in 2009 were a mixed bag. Fox and ESPN drew smaller regular season audiences while TBS’s ratings were stable. A lacklustre (absence of playoff races) regular season contributed to the decline in national ratings. RSN ratings for MLB were interpreted as solid, although being tied directly to team performance, they are more difficult to assess on a league wide basis. While it is true that TV audiences for all sports are up drastically, in large part due to the recession, the 2009 MLB postseason still has to judged a huge hit. Audience numbers were driven by many thrilling games played by franchises located in large media markets. The postseason reasserted that the New York Yankees are one of the country’s most powerful brands and that NYC is the baseball capital of the world. MLB Network launched January 1 in a record 50 million households and received widespread praise for their programming. MLB.com continued to be the gold standard for league websites. Their “out of market” MLB.TV package remains enormously successful and they added a very popular iPhone app, “At Bat”, to their offerings this year.

For a more detailed analysis of seven issues during 2009 on the business side of MLB, such as player compensation, competitive imbalance, MLB Network, and more, select Read More

1. PLAYER COMPENSATION

2009 saw a lot of grumbling around this subject. MLB players are earning a lower percentage of league revenues than earlier this decade. As recently as 2003 the percentage of industry revenues being paid to players was in the low 60’s range, while in recent years that figure has dropped to the low 50’s range. These estimates are the subject of much debate and interpretation. MLB argues that when player development costs are included, the figure rises to the high 50’s. At the same time, veteran players are meeting diminished demand for their services in the free agent market (shorter contracts, less money and more minor league deals).  Some high profile veterans openly complained this year about the escalating signing bonuses being awarded “unproven” rookies, arguing that less money for draftees would equate to more dollars for veterans. (Again, there is much debate around that notion). Many believe that veteran players will never again be valued as highly as they were. Those same people argue that the use of “objective analysis” in evaluating talent in MLB has led to a permanent devaluation of veteran players. Some also believe that the ability of veteran players to maintain their level of performance during the latter stages of their careers is diminished in the “post steroid” era. There is speculation that veteran unrest over declining compensation could even lead to the MLBPA abandoning their steadfast philosophical opposition to a “salary cap”.

2. COMPETITIVE IMBALANCE

Again, much grumbling around this subject in 2009. Many fans believe (rightly or wrongly) that the Yankees bought the 2009 World Series championship (the Yankees 09 payroll was less than their 08 payroll). The teams that did qualify for the 2009 post season were, for the most part, “large revenue” franchises. Only a year earlier, the participation of the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series combined with the participation of the Milwaukee Brewers in the playoffs, had MLB trumpeting their league’s unrivalled “competitive balance”. A Seton Hall Sports Poll conducted during the World Series concluded that there is a widespread perception amongst fans that “large market” franchises have a competitive advantage over “small market” franchises. Pirates President Frank Coonelly, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and Astros owner Drayton McLane all publicly expressed support this year for increased revenue sharing. MLB no longer releases the team by team breakdown of revenue sharing payments but Bud Selig told Bob Costas that $440 - $450 million will be redistributed this year. In a seemingly odd pairing of allies, Red Sox owner John Henry and player agent Scott Boras both (at separate times) expressed dissatisfaction with how revenue sharing “payees” were investing (or not) their receipts. Newly appointed MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner also made public comments surrounding the misuse of revenue sharing receipts. This issue is certainly not new to MLB but it is consistently one of the most debated and contentious.

3. MLB NETWORK

MLB was the last of the “big 4” to launch their own cable channel. January 1, 2009 saw MLB Network (MLBN) debut in 50 million homes. (A record number for a new channel) Tim Brosnan, MLB Executive VP, Business, was much lauded for his strategy of offering equity in the channel to cable and sat providers. MLB also offered their MLBN partners the out of market “Extra Innings” package. The combination of equity and EI allowed MLBN to not only launch in a record number of homes but also on the cable operators more deeply penetrated “basic tiers”. By comparison, the six year old NFL Network has fought with big cable since their channel launched over carriage on “sports tiers” and only this year reached the same level of distribution that MLBN did in year one. MLBN could be in an additional 15 million homes next year if they are successful in striking deals with AT&T and Dish Network. The programming on MLBN was a critical success. The addition of Bob Costas lent the channel much journalistic credibility which was further bolstered by the recent addition of Peter Gammons. MLBN has plans to increase the number of live games broadcast in 2010. Longer term, the role of MLBN and all the league owned channels remains to be seen. Some question if league owned channels (particularly in broadcasting live games) are cannibalizing existing national TV and RSN revenues. Some also point out that these channels are still relatively minor players in comparison to ESPN (in 99 million homes) and the “over the air” networks (available in all 116 million homes). Others argue that league owned channels are a necessary hedge in this era of uncertainty over the future of TV. Broadcast networks are floundering (plummeting ad revenues and audiences), hopeful that charging cable operators for “retransmission fees” for local signals will allow them to compete with the “dual revenue” (sub fees and ads) model of cable channels. These same people believe that if “over the air” is unable to compete with ESPN for sports programming, the league owned channels are necessary to prevent a de facto WWL monopoly of televised sports. All of professional sports is hopeful that NBCU and Comcast will endeavour to make sports channel VERSUS a legitimate rival to ESPN.

4. MICHAEL WEINER REPLACES DONALD FEHR

The expiration of the current MLB CBA in December 2011 will mark 16 consecutive years of labour peace in the industry. The next CBA will be negotiated with a new Executive Director of the MLBPA, Michael Weiner. In the latter part of 2009 Mr. Weiner succeeded Donald Fehr, who had led the PA since 1985. Mr. Weiner’s appointment is likely positive news for all of us hopeful of a continuation of uninterrupted labour peace in MLB. Although Mr. Weiner is the new ED of the PA, he is anything but new to labour relations in MLB. Mr. Weiner went to work for the PA in 1988 and was one of their principal negotiators during the last 2 rounds of collective bargaining. Mr. Weiner has a long and reportedly strong working relationship with Commissioner Selig and Rob Manfred, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Labor Relations & Human Resources. Labour peace is usually maintained more easily when an industry is thriving, which MLB appears to be. In addition, the principals on both sides who negotiated the current CBA (with little rancour and well before the deadline) remain in place (Mr. Fehr will almost certainly still play an important role). However, Mr. Weiner will need to address a constituency of veteran players who believe that escalating “rookie compensation” needs to be addressed in light of the diminished demand for free agents. Mr. Weiner is also faced with a number of player agents pressuring the PA to file a collusion grievance(s) over management’s approach to the free agent market the past two off seasons.

5. POSSIBLE COLLUSION

The subject of collusion in MLB is typically associated with the mid 1980’s, the nadir of labour relations in the industry. The MLPBA filed three grievances over collusion in the free agent market during that era and won each one. The players were awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. But the issue of “collusion” in MLB is not solely a relic of that fractious era. In fact, the issue of “collusion” has been a recurring point of contention between the two sides during this decade. Although arbitration was avoided, the owners agreed to pay the MLBPA $12 million during the last round of CBA negotiations over collusion in the 2002-03 off season free agent market. There remain unresolved allegations by the PA of collusion in the free agent market of the past two off seasons. The absence of offers to free agent Barry Bonds during the 07-08 off season resulted in a preliminary finding of collusion by the PA. The two sides have attempted to negotiate a settlement and thus far have only agreed to extend the deadline for filing a grievance until after the completion of Bonds criminal trial. The two sides reached a “standstill” agreement over allegations of collusion in the 08-09 off season free agent market. Again, the deadline for filing a grievance was extended, in this case to the end of this off season. The contracts awarded free agents this off-season will certainly be much scrutinized by player agents and the PA. While owners concerns about the recession during last off season could plausibly explain the depressed free agent market, the players side knows this off season that league wide revenues were stable in 2009. And if a collusion grievance(s) is filed, can an arbitrator be persuaded by the management side that the diminished demand for veterans is due to the use of “objective analysis”? Both sides deserve great credit for achieving the labour peace of the past fourteen years. However, history informs us that if there is one issue that can destroy labour relations in MLB, it is “collusion”.

6. FIXING THE DRAFT

Commissioner Selig’s attempts to control the escalating dollars being spent by clubs in the amateur draft via “recommended slots” have been largely ineffective. In 2009, Commissioner Selig made no secret of MLB’s plans to negotiate “mandatory slotting” in the next CBA. MLB would also like to expand the boundaries of the draft, with a particular eye toward the Dominican Republic. Just as the money being spent in the amateur draft has been escalating, so to has the money being awarded to international free agents (again, primarily in the DR). Cynics point out that while MLB campaigns for the expansion of the draft to the DR as a remedy to the corrupt “buscone” player development system (rampant steroid use, signing bonus kickbacks, misrepresentation of player identities and ages), they have condoned this system for years and have only denounced it since signing bonuses escalated. In fairness to MLB, reforming the draft is probably about more than the money being awarded the most coveted amateur players. Some have pointed out that the amount of money clubs spend in the draft and on international free agents is a relatively insignificant percentage of their overall spending. There is a consensus amongst management, media and fans that the draft does not often enough serve its intended purpose of distributing the best amateurs to the worst teams. In other words, it is time to remove the “signability” factor from the draft via “mandatory slotting”. There is also a growing consensus that allowing the trading of draft picks will better clubs ability to maximize the value of their pick. Many “small revenue” franchises see reforming the draft as key to improving their capability to compete with “large revenue” franchises. While the philosophical debate over reforming the draft appears to be concluded, the particulars of implementing the changes are far from decided. MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner has expressed his opposition to “mandatory slotting”. Can the DR be persuaded to allow MLB to implement the draft in their country? If yes, will MLB also dictate that Dominican players be 18 years of age before they are eligible for the draft? (Currently they can be, and are, signed as free agents at 16 years of age) Should MLB be wary that expanding the draft to the DR will eventually reduce the number of players produced there? Many argue that the introduction of the draft to Puerto Rico directly resulted in that country producing a diminished number of players.  Will the number of rounds in the draft be decreased? Will “mandatory slots” result in fewer high school players being drafted, making college baseball more competitive? Will MLB regret debilitating the “buscone system”? Many argue that the “buscone system“ is a highly efficient player development model.

7. DIGITAL RIGHTS

Who should control the rights to streaming in-market games has been a hotly debated issue within MLB for the past handful of seasons. MLB awarded the digital rights to live games to MLBAM at the beginning of the decade in an effort to “centralize/share” more industry revenue. The BAM out of market MLB.TV offering has been a tremendous success but “in market” games have not been offered over the web to protect the value of local TV rights. During the decade, an increasing number of clubs, particularly those with their own RSN (Yankees - YES / Red Sox - NESN), lobbied for control over their local digital rights. Last year saw a deal fall apart that would have seen Cubs and White Sox games streamed over the CSN Chicago (Comcast) website. 2009 saw MLB bring in-market streaming of games to New York (Yankees only) and San Diego. MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy stated that the foresees that a “majority” of clubs will have similar deals in place during 2010. The model is structured that BAM receives half of the revenue from the in-market game streaming with the other half shared amongst the team, its RSN and the local cable provider. In order to purchase a subscription for in-market streaming, a fan must be a subscriber to the local cable provider that carries the RSN which broadcasts the games. The in-market streaming initiatives were introduced mid-season, making any conclusion about their potential popularity incomplete. The Yankees in-market streaming offering attracted 6,000 subscribers, the Padres less. Some believe that RSNs will be pressuring MLB to remove MLBAM from the in-market streaming equation. In response to the proliferation in 2009 of local ESPN.coms, RSNs owned by Fox and Comcast, plus NESN, are all increasing investments in their web offerings. Live games are the most valued programming and competition for access to that programming will remain fierce in 2010.

Thanks for reading this year, and a safe, healthy and happy 2010.

LWIB will return January 4.


Pete Toms is an author for the Business of Sports Network, most notably, The Biz of Baseball. He looks forward to your comments and can be contacted through The Biz of Baseball.

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