Business of Baseball Report

Nationals Already Look to Sell Sponsorship Rights at New Stadium

MLB’s sale of the Washington Nationals hasn’t even closed yet and construction on the stadium has just now begun, but that’s not stopping the team from negotiating sponsorship deals for when the new stadium is finished. Nothing can be finalized until the Lerner group takes over the Nationals, but speculation is that the team could make anywhere from $16 to $18 million a year in annual sponsorships and that these deals will be locked for anywhere from seven to 10 years. There’s also speculation that if the team holds out on signing a lot of these sponsorship deals until closer to the time the stadium opens, they could command an even larger amount. That doesn’t even count the several millions that the team will make from premium and club seats as well as suites.

This all goes to show you why the team sold for $450 million. The Nationals are in a top-10 media market, and that commands a premium in the advertising industry. One thing the team appears to be trying to do is get some early advances on these deals by forcing advertisers to sign on in 2007, when the Nationals are still playing at RFK Stadium, in order to be first in line for sponsorship rights when the new stadium opens in 2008.

A Piece of Detroit Tigers’ History is Stolen

An aluminum plaque that identified Tiger Stadium, the former home ballpark of the Detroit Tigers, was stolen last week. I actually just got done watching a fantastic documentary on the pursuit to save Tiger Stadium, Stranded at the Corner, and the plaque was highlighted in the video so as soon as I saw the news report, I immediately knew what they were talking about. And speaking of the documentary, I was hoping to get through a detailed review of the video (thumbs up, if you want an early sneak peak) at Tigerblog, but my vacation this past weekend got in the way. I’m hoping to get through it this week with the impending decision on what will happen to Tiger Stadium forthcoming in the next couple of weeks.

Royals Optimistic With New General Manager While Braves Take the Hit

You don’t see a lot of win-win situations in baseball. Usually one team loses something and another gains something, and that definitely appears to be the case with the Kansas City Royals and the Atlanta Braves. The Royals picked Dayton Moore to be their new general manager, and while Royals fans are hoping he’s their savior, Braves fans are concerned about the future.

For two interesting looks from both sides of the spectrum, Maury Brown takes a look at what Dayton Moore is up against at his blog, the Baseball Journals. From the Braves’ perspective, this Atlanta-Journal Constitution article highlights how the Braves will miss their former assistant general manager.

Athletics Move to Freemont Runs Into Roadblock

It seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Oakland Athletics’ days of playing in Oakland were close to over. Athletics owner Lew Wolff set the stage with his plans for a cozy 35,000 seat stadium, and it appeared that Fremont, California was the place where the stadium would end up. Fremont was within a half hour of Oakland, so it seemed likely that the Athletics would keep their name and fan base by moving into what was effectively a suburb of their current home.

The problem is that Fremont is in a financial crisis and wouldn’t be able to provide things like security and police deployment without being compensated by the team. The city is going to be forced to dip into its reserve fund for the first time despite cutting 220 jobs and $25 million in costs. Crime is up in the city, emergency response times are slower and the roads are beginning to deteriorate.

In the meantime, negotiations continue that would secure the tract of land in Fremont for the Oakland Athletics. And without a solid number as to the cost of providing police and security during home games, it’s hard to say whether this will be just a speed bump in the eventual move or if it stops the team’s relocation in its tracks.

New Twins Stadium Could Affect 2007 Draft Strategy

The dust has settled in Minnesota and the realization that the Twins will have a new stadium in 2010 is setting in. With this week’s amateur draft taking place and no ballpark plans finalized, Twins scouting director Mike Radcliff has said that the prospect of the new park won’t affect his draft plans, this year.

At this time next year, things could be different. The team should know the stadium dimensions and the general design of the stadium and this could affect how they draft their players. There’s speculation that the new stadium could have a short left field and with the team stocked with left-handed hitting talent, the team could change its course and begin to look at more right-handed hitting prospects in the future.

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