Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times is back at it again. You know, the same columnist that wrote that the Tampa Bay Rays have the least supportive fans in baseball.
This time he rips on the Rays calling them one of five professional sports franchises you wouldn’t want to own (be sure to check out the picture of empty seats from 2010 that will help perpetuate the stereotype that the Rays have no fans)…
Working on a financially responsible budget, the Rays executive staff of Sternberg, president Matt Silverman and vice president Andrew Friedman, as well as manager Joe Maddon, have put together an organization that is as impressive as any in baseball. But the team needs a new stadium and has a fan base that would rather stay home and watch on TV instead of going to the ballpark. On the field, everything is great. Off the field? I wouldn’t touch it.
Let’s ignore for a second that the Rays are still worth over $300 million according to Forbes.com. Wait. No, let’s not ignore that. Who wouldn’t want to own an investment worth $300 million? And who wouldn’t want an investment that has had an annual growth rate of 9.06% since Sternberg purchased the team? Oh yeah, Tom Jones “wouldn’t touch it.”
And since when does people watching on television mean nothing? We would argue, that with the new enormous television deals, people watching on TV are actually more important than selling tickets.
And while it is still a few years away, the Rays’ next TV deal is going to be huge.
Yes, the stadium situation is ugly. But when it gets worked out (even if it is not here, the stadium situation WILL get worked out), the value of the Rays will jump even higher.
Are the Rays a cash-cow now? No. But the growth potential is huge. And any smart investor would recognize that.
And all of this ignores that some owners actual enjoy sports and don’t care about making money with their teams. And for those owners, the Rays’ young talent and solid farm system would be a dream scenario.
A strong franchise that is showing a decent return on investment and a bright future? That is more than can be said about a lot of other pro sports teams. We’re just glad Tom Jones isn’t managing our money.