One of the biggest factors in the Rays’ payroll is their television contract which pays them a paltry $20 million per year through the 2016 season. And based on the growth of television deals in recent years as well as strong local ratings, it is reasonable to expect that the Rays will make $50-100 million on their next deal. But just how bad is the Rays’ current deal? Actually, it is not that bad. Of the 30 MLB teams, 22 have a local television contract (others own their own network or have equity in a local network). Of those 22 teams, the average annual value of their television contract ranges from $12 million (Brewers) to $240 million (Dodgers). In fact, the Rays are just one of six teams that make $20 million per year or less. Not good, but it could be worse.

For a graphical look at the contracts go here [BI Sports]
For more information on the TV deals, go here [Fangraphs]


  • Evan Lonogoria had surgery on his hamstring to remove some scar tissue. If you have ever had scar tissue, you know that this is an optional procedure that will loosen up the joints and muscles. The only real downside is extending the time of recovery and another round of physical therapy before you are 100%. But Longo says he will be ready by mid-February. []
  • The Rays have re-signed Rich Thompson to a minor league deal. They have also signed infielder Mike Fontenot to a minor league deal. []
  • Evan Longoria was on 620 WDAE to talk about his new contract. [620WDAE]
  • Here is a look at what Wil Myers means to the Royals. [Fangraphs]
  • The first person BJ Upton thanked was Marvin Miller who passed away this week. [Big League Stew]
  • “How the Miami Marlins do everything wrong, and the Tampa Bay Rays do everything right” [The Week]
  • Somebody wants to build a $400 million stadium in Tampa…for soccer. [Shadow of the Stadium]
  • $11 million of Evan Longoria’s contract will be deferred, which decreases the present-day value from $136 million to $131 million. []
  • “Multiple teams” are scouting Scott Kazmir in winter ball. [Buster Olney]
  • How Evan Longoria’s deal compares to other large contracts for Tampa Bay professional athletes. []
  • Florida lost to Georgia. That’s fine. But why is Alabama ahead of Florida in the BCS Rankings? The numbers don’t add up. [BI Sports]






  1. Greg says:

    If you read the fangraphs article, they note that the Braves and A's appear to be locked into poor TV contracts until 2024 (A's) and 2031 (Braves). Ouch!

  2. don says:

    Todays Tampabay Times (Tom Jones): Finally catch up to Bucs Attendance problems in that great Sports Town of "Tampa"...
    Just no pictures of empty seats, wheres all the lost TV and Bar & restaurant revenue with the Bucs blackouts???

  3. Gus says:

    The $20M a year figure for the Rays is one that I cannot recall seeing before. Does that count as news? I don't recall seeing that # in the Deadspin leaked financials.

    The Braves was an insider deal that is really an outlier.

    If the Rays got their deal to $40M, that would be worth another 1M fans (using the $20 a head metric that has been kicked around). You can see that the TV dollars are far outpacing the gate. As I have said for years, the Rays are better off keeping overhead low and fielding a competitive team than strapping themselves to a stadium they can't afford.

    The proposal from Pinellas should be: take the Trop and its 88 acres when our debt service expires. Make the Rays invested in the community. In 40 years, it would be considered as forward thinking as Chavez Ravine looks now. The TV revenues are where the future is. They have a loveable brand. A move to Tampa alienates almost everybody -- Pinellas residents feel scorned; many Hillsborough taxpayers will feel screwed by the $500m stadium they ahve to subsidize.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      The $20 million figure is one I first reported back in 2010 from one of my own sources.

      • Gus says:

        So can we assume that the BI source this time was you?

        One thing in the back of my mind is that the Rays local TV deal had them selling the advertising inventory in-house (the theory was the Rays sales staff could leverage ballpark sponsors and radio sponsors and TV sponsors and reap the rewards if they got good). Do you know if that is still the case? If so, I'd doubt that $20M is an accurate # year to year (some years you'd do better selling, others worse; you'd also be susceptible to some accounting tricks (discount the OF sign if you pay full price for the TV ads, etc). It all comes out as revenue, of course, but makes it tough to compare apples to apples with other clubs.

        • Cork Gaines says:

          I was told the number is "approximately" $20 million annually. I was left with the impression that the exact number varies slightly from year-to-year, but that it is typically in that ballpark. As for the BI article, those numbers actually came from the Fangraphs article. I am not sure where she got her numbers. Since we reported the $20 million figure, I have seen the same number reported in a few places. It is not clear if they are getting the number from RI or if they have their own source saying the same thing. I would guess, at least in some cases, it is the latter.

          • Joe says:

            You know what shocked me Cork, and maybe you saw it, was how Tom Jones so summarily dismissed the value of a new tv deal. I was shocked how dismissive he was. He responded to his own incendiary piece he wrote on Thursday, and in his response said that any new money that comes into the ownership group is overstated.

            I am apalled and shocked at the conduct and the simplicity of MISSING the facts by Tom Jones and John Romano.

  4. Andrew says:

    I am really shocked the Braves have such a low television deal.

    Sorry for sounding out of the loop, but I do remember in the 90s and 2000s, TBS was basically the exclusive tv channel to get braves on tv, I guess they got hosed on their television deal after they stopped being exclusively on tbs

    • Dave L says:

      Yeah me too. I thought the Braves and the Cubs were the innovative geniuses of the use of TV to build expansive regional fanbases. I never knew they fell behind.

      Like I tell my kid, im just a 20th century man always out of the loop about some things.


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