SBD/Issue 151/Franchises

Braves CEO Refutes Report Team Reduced Player Payroll By 13%

Braves Execs Including Saito's
Incentives In Final Payroll Number

Braves Chair & CEO Terry McGuirk on Sunday refuted a report that the team "reduced its player payroll by 13[%] since last season, and McGuirk also said he doesn't think Liberty Media will sell the team for some time," according to David O'Brien of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. USA Today earlier this month reported that the Braves "began the 2010 season with a $84.4[M] payroll." McGuirk said the figure was "not right" and added that it was "about $6[M] below what Braves officials had indicated the payroll to be." He said, "They're drawing off of some database that MLB has, and whatever snapshot they got, that's not correct. Our (payroll) will have a 9 in front of it." O'Brien noted the Braves "did not announce a specific 2009 payroll amount, and said only that it was between" $92-95M. This year's 25-man opening-day roster salaries totaled about $85M, but the Braves' "own accounting adds several million dollars for incentives that team officials believe" 3B Troy Glaus and P Takashi Saito are "likely to earn." The Braves have missed the playoffs four years in a row, and home attendance last season "was the lowest since the team moved to Turner Field" in '97. Still, McGuirk said that the Braves "weren't looking at trimming payroll to cut costs." He said, "Attendance was down across the league, and everybody probably had to take a hard look at costs. But we're here to win right now. That's the best way to get revenues up. In our situation, this town is just dying for a winner. That's the big accelerator to revenues, if we can produce a winner this thing will take off." McGuirk has said that the team's payroll limits are "not set by Liberty" but by him in "consultation with other team officials." Meanwhile, McGuirk reiterated that Liberty officials "have not indicated any plans to sell the team once they're permitted to do so next year." As part of Liberty’s purchase of the team from Time Warner in '07, the company "agreed to retain ownership of the Braves at least through baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement, which runs through the 2011 season" (AJC.com, 4/18).

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