Business of Baseball Report

Nationals Set to Begin Process to Sell Naming Rights to New Stadium

The Washington Nationals are close to beginning the process to sell the naming rights to their new $611 million stadium that’s set to open in 2008. They’ll likely name the Wasserman Media Group to auction off the naming rights, and it’s expected that the sale won’t close for several months.

As part of the deal that MLB struck with Washington, D.C., the Nationals get the proceeds from the sale of the naming rights. They’re hoping to pull in somewhere between $10 million and $15 million, but a more realistic number is probably between $5 million and $10 million. The team is obviously hoping that the recent deal struck between Citigroup and the New York Mets for naming rights to the new Mets’ stadium will raise the bar for these types of deals. In that deal, Citigroup is paying the Mets a record $20 million to name the stadium CitiField.

CBA Provides a Win For Both Teams and Players in Hot Stove

Under the newly agreed-upon collective bargaining agreement (CBA), many of the old deadlines that hindered teams from signing their old players have been eliminated. In the past, teams had until December 7 to offer arbitration to players on their roster or they wouldn’t be able to negotiate with that player until May 1. While this made an impact on signing players, it didn’t really make it to the public eye until the Houston Astros declined to offer Roger Clemens arbitration last year. That decision meant they couldn’t sign the future Hall of Famer until after the May 1 deadline, and it could have potentially cost the Astros a division championship.

Now all players can negotiate with their current team without these deadlines and it will ensure that even if a deal isn’t reached until January, that the returning player will be on the field for Opening Day. It’s also anticipated that we’ll see more deals in December as players won’t be confined to the early December deadline to sign with their old teams.

Baseball Bat Company For Sale

Sam Holman, who owns the Original Maple Bat Corporation, is looking to retire. He began his bat company when he made a bet that a rock maple tree would make a more durable bat then the northern ash tree bats that were popular at the time. Since that time 10 years ago, he’s made bats for the likes of Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard.

He recently put his business up for sale on Ebay. As part of the deal the winning bidder will receive the company, the warehouse building in Quebec, two acres of land as well as all patents, trademarks, client lists and machinery and equipment. The starting bid was $3.5 million, although I wasn’t able to find the auction on Ebay to see where the bidding stood.

Former Diamondbacks Owner Interested in Buying the Cubs

Jerry Colangelo, the former controlling owner of both the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks is interested in buying the Chicago Cubs from the Tribune Company. Last week Colangelo announced that he had held preliminary discussions with people who share his interest in purchasing the Cubs but he didn’t say whether there had actually been a discussion with the Tribune Company about the potential purchase. The estimated sales price for the teams comes out at $600 million, and with the problems that the Tribune Company has had of late (they’ve basically put themselves up for sale), Colangelo might have an anxious seller.

A Look at Cisco Field

Maury Brown, in his latest Ledger Domain, details what’s in store for the Oakland Athletics’ stadium of the future, Cisco Field. The team has agreed to move to Fremont, Calif., and the stadium design is billed as state of the art. The column includes pictures and stadium renderings and as always, Maury provides a good read on the details for the stadium.

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