The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Marlins Lock in Long Term Television Contract to Help Secure Stadium Financing

For whatever reason, some of the most important Marlins news items seem to get the least amount of attention. Unless you really read through this morning’s paper or somehow caught it otherwise, you probably missed this little tidbit:
The Marlins extended their TV contract with FSNF through 2020. Some of that
revenue will be used to guarantee rent payment in a proposed new stadium.

In case you’re not a Floridian, FSNF is Fox Sports Net Florida. And just in case you haven’t been paying close attention, it’s not like the Marlins long standing relationship with FSNF has been particularly lucrative. Well, at least not by MLB standards.

But, in order to fortify their future revenue streams as they try to pretty things up in time to convince the state to help them fund their new ballpark, the Marlins have signed a deal that will keep them on one network for the next fifteen years.

While I don’t know the particulars of the deal – all I’ve found is the equivalent of this one-linter – on the surface this agreement seems to be very shortsighted. Sure, it will help the Marlins lineup funding for their new stadium; but 5, 10, and 15 years from now, fans will probably be tired of hearing about how the Marlins have limited payroll flexibility – even in their not so shiny or new anymore stadium – because they can’t compete with the television contracts that other teams have.

While the Marlins aren’t in a position to create their own regional sports network ala the Yankees and Mets, limiting themselves in terms of television revenue for the next fifteen years is about the exact opposite extreme. Hopefully more details will emerge and there will be some opportunity for the Marlins to negotiate a more lucrative deal down the road depending on the success of the franchise and the future realities of the markets.


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