P8 – So what’s your point?

Drawing is of the newly proposed Florida Marlins Ballpark

March 2008

As the Florida Marlins enter into a partnership with local government – given the public monies, albeit mostly tourist tax dollars, used to finance the Marlins new home in my Little Havana neighborhood – I expect that there will be greater scrutiny on how they run their franchise, specifically with respect to player salaries and their profitability. As someone with a financial background, I watch in slight amazement as the Marlins management suggests, typically without specifics [understandably we now realize], that they are not profitable. Further, they seem rather dismissive in suggesting that their finances involve concepts beyond the grasp of their fans.

Normally, when someone points out that their finances are private and they won’t provide you access to them, that would cut-off most conversations fairly quickly. But in the case of MLB, their player contracts, attendance and network television deals are public knowledge. In other words, their main revenues and expenses are in the public domain, just not specifically allocated. Forbes, one of the most prestigious business publications in the US, has provided a yearly franchise valuation of every MLB team since 1998. In the course of that valuation, Forbes’ analysis estimates such key financial information as total revenues, player expenses and operating income or loss.

I intend to provide a website which will help Marlin fans follow the finances of their team – stadium issue included. My goal is that whenever the topic of the Florida Marlins finances arises, us fans have a readily accessible source of information to combat those who [understandably] seek to confuse us.

I would prefer not to see Mr Loria, or any other owner, profit from projects which involve public monies. But that is not how this issue has played out all over the US. The Marlins scheduled level of contributions for the stadium are consistent with other recent deals between MLB and local governments. As such, I don’t feel strongly enough about wanting to avoid the rich guy getting richer scenario [envy], to wish to see the franchise leave. So I support having the stadium built for the Marlins.

Bottom line, people who own desirable products [MLB franchise] typically profit in one way or another, that’s the goal. But for now, I just can’t sit back and allow them to pretend otherwise, without giving a blog.


About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
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1 Response to P8 – So what’s your point?

  1. Jorge,I’ve written a post over at < HREF="http://floridafishfan.blogspot.com" REL="nofollow"> Fish or Cut Bait<> about whether the Marlins could have signed Cabrera among other things. I was stimulated to write it by your posts. For the record, I’ve never heard the Marlins say their financial picture was complicated. I think it’s simply a financial picture that they don’t necessarily want to reveal. If the owner borrowed $38 million to buy the team and lost money 3 out of the first four years he owned it, my bet is that he doesn’t want people to know exactly how leveraged he is. In order to obtain the public financing for the ballpark (something almost every other franchise enjoys) in the present environment he needs to portray a picture of an owner who wants to win but needs the same resources other owners have. But he can’t portray himself as being in hock up to his ears because the guardians of the public trust will be dubious about a joint venture with an organization on the brink of insolvency.I tend to believe Loria. He wants to win. He can spend money with no guarantee of winning or he can be cheap and guarantee a profit.Given the conflicting goals of winning and making a profit, he is trying to straddle the line. “What if I can win while making money?” Another aspect that I want to bring to this discussion which I find fascinating is time horizons. Do you think that Cub fans would accept a situation where the team would have the lowest payroll in baseball if they were guaranteed a world series win in five years? All interesting stuff. Keep it coming.

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