Keith Olbermann is the latest to pile on the state of Florida and what is perceived as a lack of support for baseball. In his reaction to the Marlins latest payroll-slashing trade, Olbermann unleashes a cluster bomb over the entire state…

…the Marlins are officially the Montreal Expos of the 2010′s and baseball is unofficially dead in Florida…Notice I did not write South Florida. All of it. Rays’ owner Stu Sternberg was already less than sanguine about getting significant scratch from the state and local governments for a new ballpark that is absolutely essential to his survival in Tampa/St. Petersburg. If he had any hopes left after the disastrously low crowds for the free ballpark the good burghers of Florida gave Jeffrey Loria, they have to be gone now and he has to be looking elsewhere.

Let’s ignore for a second that everybody (except apparently Mr. Olbermann) already knew the Rays were not getting the same deal as the Marlins and that financing a new stadium is going to require a good deal of private investment as well as some creative taxes. So the stadium situation in Miami is not changing anybody’s expectations in the Bay Area.

No, the bigger issue is that Olbermann, like most of the national media, is still looking at baseball through antiquated lenses. Do teams want large attendance figures? Of course. But baseball is no longer driven by ticket sales.

Just look at the recent sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that was purchased for $2 billion, in large part because of their upcoming television deal which will increase revenue significantly.

In fact, television deals are skyrocketing in baseball. And Olbermann is suggesting Major League Baseball completely abandon a state that has three of the 20 largest television markets in the country.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

Unlike the NFL which is more popular on the national level, baseball is still a localized sport. And the lifeline of baseball is now the local television deals.

Baseball in Tampa-St. Pete is not ideal. But as long as television ratings remain strong for the Rays, baseball isn’t going anywhere.

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9 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    I'm guessing you've never read Jonathan Swifts' "A Modest Proposal"?

    http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html

    I'm guessing this is a bit of satire that's being taken a bit too seriously.

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  2. John Baker says:

    Just to play Devil's Advocate, the NFL has no team in the USA's second-largest TV market (Los Angeles) and does just fine. In fact, football gets great ratings in LA because the networks can show the marquee games there and aren't obligated to show the decrepit local team.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      And that's because a) the NFL is much more of a national sport and out of market games still do very well; and b) all of the TV money comes from national television contracts. On the contrary, in baseball, most of the television money comes from local contracts.

      This is something I have written about elsewhere. You can actually make an argument that NFL owners dont want to be in L.A. because there is no advantage. The cost of having a franchise in L.A. is much greater (e.g. more expensive to build a stadium in L.A. than in Green Bay). And yet all of the television revenue is shared equally among the teams. So a team in L.A. doesnt gain anything from the larger television ratings than say the Jaguars.

      On the other hand, baseball teams have local TV contracts. So the Dodgers make a LOT more money off of TV deals than most teams. And if there wasnt a baseball team in L.A. that would be a lot of money that nobody would be receiving.

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  3. Beazy says:

    Great article again Cork!, and let's not forget that the Rays are televised not just in the Tampa Bay market, but also Orlando-Daytona, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Ft. Myers-Cape Coral, etc., and let's not forget Rays radio is broadcasted in other places like Hazleton, PA, Arkansas, Alabama, and Panama City...

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  4. don says:

    What everybody gets out of the Miami situation in Tampabay is all Stadium talk....What I was wondering why didn't the Rays pick up a couple Miami Players on the cheap, they didn't want any of our many prospects making $400,000? you wanta bet....
    the National Media takes what it gets from Local Media and makes a story out of it
    Miami has a Guy named Stanton who is pissed off.....gee Andrew you see anything here??

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  5. J 2.0 says:

    First off, Keith Olberman is a total knob.

    With that said I don't think the Toronto-Miami trade is really that great for Toronto. It's bad for Miami. But when it comes to Toronto, they're getting an aging pitcher with several consecutive years of heavy workload; an injury prone, once promising prospect that is now going to be 29 and grasping at straws to rejuvenate his career; a diva shortstop whose production is pretty much declining; a not bat outfielder and a not bat catcher. This deal doesn't scare me as a Rays fan.

    Now, as for Miami. This trade stinks. Not because they're trading away all of thier big names, but because of what they got in return. Even though I think those players are overpaid and overrated, three of them have very good trade value, especially Reyes. I could swallow this trade if Miami would've gotten major league caliber players, and top line prospects. A way of management saying, "You know what? Our neighbors to the north, the Rays, are doing this thing the right way. Let's get out from under these expensive contracts and build a young core for future success."

    That is NOT what they did and it is obvious to you, me, all of us. Selig needs to be ousted. Loria needs to ousted.

    I don't think Stanton can be had, but we could use a first baseman. Logan Morrison might be more reallistic. His number should improve if put in the A.L. and moved back to first base. Either way let's see how it turns out. Would really love to see the Rays land Profar, that is for damn sure.

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  6. Tom says:

    Olberman cherry picks the data for the Expos attendance. He mentions how great it was over 25 years ago but fails to mention they were last in the league from 98-04 and only broke a million 1 time during that period.

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  7. Gt40bear says:

    Olberman is a stone cold idiot who can't even keep a job on Al Gore's network with it's 3 viewers. Who really gives a damn what he thinks, much less what he says. Washed up, irrelevant, never was bonehead.

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  8. Beth says:

    And the fact that ticket sales are a smaller piece of the total revenue puzzle also gives teams the chance to build smaller stadiums with better sightlines, so that the experience for those who do pay to come is better. So there are great opportunities work within this new business model.

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