SBD/February 10, 2014/Franchises

D-Backs' Franchise Record Payroll Means They Must Contend To Be Profitable

D-Backs execs say they want to keep payroll at about 50 % of team revenues
The D-Backs in '14 will have the "most expensive collection of players in franchise history" after signing P Bronson Arroyo, according to Nick Piecoro of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The team is "in line to surpass" the roughly $103M spent in '02, the year after the team won the World Series. D-Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall said that the team's "internal projections are around" $115M for the '14 payroll. Still, Piecoro notes Hall's estimate would "rank just third among the five teams" in the NL West. As revenues "have climbed and debts have been erased," the D-Backs have "reinvested in their roster." But the club's payroll has "put the organization in a tight spot," as the D-Backs "likely will lose money" if they do not contend. Hall said, "Talking to our ticketing and marketing folks, we feel comfortable. I think we can get there (in revenues), but we're challenging ourselves if we don't play well. If we perform the way we think we can, we'll be fine. If we hit our attendance numbers of last year (2.1 million), we'll be right where we need to be." He said that revenues this year "are projected to exceed" $200M. Hall: "Ideally, we'd like to keep (our payroll at) about 50 percent of our revenues." As for revenue in future years, he said the team's next local TV deal will "be a game-changer." Piecoro notes the team is "in the middle of negotiations" as their current deal with FS Arizona expires after the '15 season. The current deal "reportedly netted" the team $31M per year. The D-Backs are "likely to at least triple that in the next deal, be it with Fox Sports or someone else." Hall: "We can bite the bullet a little bit the next couple of years to get there" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/10).

D-BACKS GIVING BACK: In Phoenix, Zach Buchanan noted area Little Leagues will soon "receive authentic Diamondbacks jerseys and hats from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, a donation worth more than $600,000." The program is "being dubbed the D-Backs Give Back Jersey Program" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/8).
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