(Page 2 of 2)
Eighteen months ago, MLB announced new national broadcast rights deals with Fox and TBS that, combined with its existing deal with ESPN, are estimated to be worth $12.4 billion to MLB through 2021. That's roughly $60 million per team per year.
Twelve months ago, the Mariners announced a purchase of a majority interest in Root Sports, the regional sports network owned by DirecTV that has for years been its TV outlet. Forbes magazine recently reported that the ownership share was 71 percent, and the value of the 18-year deal $2.5 billion, or about $139 million a year, minus a share to DirecTV.
The Mariners and Root steadfastly dismiss Forbes' annual estimates as guesswork. But even if the Mariners' share is half of what Forbes claims, say $70 million, the combined local and national TV revenue estimates add up to $130 million a year. This year's estimated player payroll, with Cano and Felix Hernandez ($22 million annually), is around $93 million.
Looking at it that way, the Mariners' Cano deal is hardly crazy. They can well afford it. There's one thing they can ill afford: another failed season.
The club is off to a tidy start — with Cano hitting .391, the Mariners' 4-2 road trip put them in the AL West lead — but no serious baseball fan puts stock in April's first week. Cano will deliver; success pivots not on Cano but on the farm-raised youngsters around him.
The long-derided Seattle sports world seems done with pony rides. As Zduriencik said, let's be real.
Photos of Robinson Cano by Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest, and Keith Allison/Flickr.
Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!