Derek Jeter's "Project Wolverine" Forecasts Spike In Profits, Attendance For Marlins
Marlins CEO Derek Jeter projects the team will "make an enormous profit" in '18 and "sizable profits the following three years" after cutting about $36M in player payroll in recent weeks, according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. Project Wolverine, Jeter's "confidential document given to potential investors," includes "ambitious revenue goals for tickets, sponsorship and television rights." The Marlins' new ownership group is "poised to make a profit next season because of the slashing of payroll, combined with the fact that every MLB team next spring will receive a one-time payout" of $50M as a result of MLB's sale of BAMTech to Disney. But the amount of the Marlins' profit "could vary widely based on several factors." The August version of the document "projects a Marlins 'cash flow' profit" of $68M for '18. But much of that was based on the "internal projection that Fox will give the Marlins" a $44.8M up-front payment as "part of a renegotiated TV deal." There is "no indication if the Marlins at this point believe that will happen." If Fox does not give the Marlins a lucrative extension and that large projected up-front payment, the Marlins' projected profit for '18 would drop to $23M and "potentially lower if ambitious revenue targets aren't met." Those profit projections in the August version of Project Wolverine are "based on a player payroll" of about $90M for '18, or $100M including pension payments. The August document "projects a big spike in attendance revenue" in '18, which would "seem difficult to achieve" in the wake of recent trades of star players. A source said that even though the NL "announced the Marlins' attendance at 1.6 million last season, only 820,000 were paid tickets" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/3).
AT THE PLATE: The TAMPA BAY TIMES notes locally-based Liberty Group CEO Punit Shah is a "minority owner" of the Marlins as part of the new ownership group. Shah "didn't reveal how much of the team he owns." Shah, asked why he decided to invest in the team, said, "The opportunity to partner with a world-class athlete as Derek Jeter, combined with the incredible upside that the Miami Marlins present in a gateway city to the United States, simply was too attractive to pass up" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 1/3).