SBD/April 8, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

MLB To Increase Loan Pool To Nearly $2B With Revenues On The Rise

MLB "plans to increase the pool of money that the league lends to its clubs by about half a billion dollars," pushing the total amount to nearly $2B, according to Daniel Kaplan of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that the league "expects to complete the financing by the summer." The move "underscores how MLB financially is enjoying a plush period, with a new collective-bargaining agreement and new TV contracts, along with healthy attendance, all of which allows the league to relax somewhat the conservative debt limitations that were imposed in the years" after the '08 financial crisis. The league "notified financial institutions of its intent last month, at a meeting in Arizona" during Spring Training. MLB’s move "follows a similar action by the NFL last year, when that league increased the amount of money teams could borrow" to $200M from $150M (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/8 issue). ESPN’s Howard Bryant said it is “time to end the false narrative that baseball is a dying sport." MLB is a "healthy, thriving national game,” and despite World Series ratings being down, “everything else is up.” Franchise values rose 23% this offseason and nine teams “surpassed 3 million in attendance last year." Bryant: “Everyone is watching on TV and in the stands. But most importantly, MLB doesn’t need to run commercials trying to convince parents that playing baseball won’t leave their kids brain damaged” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 4/7).
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