SBD/January 27, 2012/Franchises

Braves Chair & CEO Terry McGuirk Talks Payroll, Ownership, Media Rights

Braves CEO reveals that team is currently locked into 25-year local TV contracts
Braves Chair & CEO Terry McGuirk said that the team has “set a player payroll budget of $94 million for this year, leaving them with several million dollars still to spend,” according to Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. McGuirk said that the $94M is “the maximum amount supported by the Braves’ projected revenue, contending the team will operate at that level with ‘no profitability, no free cash flow.’” McGuirk: “I think this team is on a glide path where it has the ability with all our youth to be good for a long period of time, continue to raise enthusiasm in Atlanta and drive revenue and allow us to spend more on the team.” He added, “In a way, I almost relish when one of our competitors goes in the free-agent market because it’s so inefficient and such a bad use of dollars. You almost never get the value out of a free-agent market expense.” McGuirk also said that team Owner Liberty Media “has expressed no intention of selling the club in the near future.” He said Liberty is “very satisfied with the ownership.” McGuirk: “It’s no secret that part of the purchase had to do with a much larger tax-based deal, but there’s just no need to sell.” He added, “You certainly take a chance when you deploy the amount of money it takes to own a franchise and you don’t make money during the time you own it. You better be fairly certain you’re building the franchise in a credible way so it will potentially be worth more.” McGuirk also disclosed that the Braves “are locked into 25-year local TV contracts that will prevent the franchise from cashing in on Major League Baseball’s trend toward dramatically higher telecast rights fees.” He said there is “no opportunity for a different deal than the one we have.” McGuirk: “They were at-market deals when they were done, but the market has changed. We will have to look elsewhere for the increases that we will need in revenue to continue to build this franchise. It’s what the owners at the time decided to do, so we have to live with it” (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/26).
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