SBD/January 17, 2013/Media

Braves' McGuirk Says Low-Grossing TV Deal Does Not Handcuff Team's Finances

Current TV rights for the Braves are believed to be worth less than $20M per year
The Braves are "six years into a bad 20-year local-TV contract that might put the team at a competitive disadvantage as other major league teams sign significantly more lucrative deals that increase revenues and enable larger payrolls," according to David O'Brien of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. However, Braves Chair & CEO Terry McGuirk said that he is "not worried because the organization is positioned to stay competitive by enhancing other revenues and maintaining a strong minor league system." McGuirk: "We pride ourselves in understanding our business long-term, and we’ve seen exactly where we are. We saw it coming years ago. The marketplace does change, but it’s not change we don’t know or understand or actually predict. We really made our zigging and zagging long ago, to get positioned correctly the way we are today." The Braves' TV deal, negotiated as the team was being sold by Time Warner to Liberty Media in '07, is "believed to be worth less than $20 million annually to the team." But some have said that the figure "is closer to $10 million annually, which would place it at the bottom of the major league scale." The Braves' current deal "covers all local-rights broadcast entities -- Fox Sports South, SportSouth and Peachtree TV, owned by Turner Broadcasting." McGuirk said, "It was done simultaneously (when the team was being sold to Liberty). It was to Turner’s advantage, obviously, to do it that way. They were parting with the team and they were able to structure a long-term relationship with Fox." McGuirk said that "neither the $10 million nor the $20 million figure was accurate." McGuirk: "That deal was an iron-clad deal. We are constantly trying to figure ways to improve it" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 1/17).
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