Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort recently told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies’ earned $170 million revenue in 2013. Monfort shared the information as part of a larger discussion with Renck about the Rockies’ finances as the team looks to upgrade for the 2014 season. As Renck reports, Rockies fans were in an uproar in October after learning that the team was building a party deck in the upper right-field seats. After two consecutive last-place finishes, fans were clamoring for more money to be spent on the product on the field, not the fan experience off of it.
Perhaps in response to the fans’ negative reaction, Monfort told Renck that the Rockies have a conservative business plan that aims to get the team into the postseason two times every five years. Specifically, Monfort said about the 2013 season:
- The Rockies earned $170 million in revenue;
- The Rockies spent $84 million on player salaries, including in-season call ups;
- The payroll accounted for 49.4% of revenues, in line with the 50/50 rule of thumb; and
- The Rockies local TV rights deal is worth $200 million over ten years and expires in 2020.
Renck asked about the additional revenue all MLB teams will receive in 2014 from the new national TV deals. As I explained in this post a few weeks ago, ESPN, Fox and TBS will pay MLB $1.5 billion per season from 2014 through 2021, nearly double what the networks paid the league under the prior deal. That works out to approximately $25 million in additional revenue per team, if the TV money passes entirely from MLB’s Central Fund to the 30 teams. Monfort believes that MLB will only pay out $19 million per team, to account for Central Fund money the league planned to hold back in 2013 but paid forward after teams complained.
For the Rockies, Monfort expects to spend $5 million or so of the additional $19 million on player salaries and $5.5 million on loan payments to MLB. Another $3.5 million will make up for an expected decrease in ticket revenue compared to 2013 when the Rockies hosted the Yankees and Red Sox at Coors Field. That leaves another $5 million. For what, it isn’t clear. Under the 50/50 rule of thumb, you’d expect the Rockies to spend $9.5 million of the $19 million on players’ salaries.
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