It Appears Owning A Baseball Is Profitable

Liberty Media had a great 2021 fiscal year in Cobb County, Georgia.

There has always been skepticism about the profitability of sports franchises. If you listen to league commissioners, there are far better investments for owners than sports franchises. In fact, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, his business answered that question by saying, “if you look at the purchase price of franchises, the cash that’s put in during the period of ownership and then what they’ve sold for, historically, the return on those investments is below what you’d get in the stock market, what you’d expect to get in the stock market, with a lot more risk.” That might be the company line that Manfred is trying to sell to people but Liberty Media has contradicted Manfred. Liberty Media is the parent company of the Major League Baseball Atlanta Braves franchises. The Braves business made $568 million during 2021. The baseball business made $104 million in profit.

The Cobb County, Georgia-based Atlanta Braves business is going to have a good 2022 season based on pre-season sales projections. “We will start 2022 with the highest number of season-ticket holders in 22 seasons — since 2000,” Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei said. “We are sold out of our premium seats for the first time in history, including all the suites.” Liberty Media made $526 million from baseball sources  which included ticket sales, concessions, other stadium revenue streams, local and national broadcasting rights, corporate sponsorships, merchandise and licensing. Liberty Media also made $42 million to real-estate development around the Cobb County stadium. One of the reasons people know about the Braves finances is because Liberty Media is a publicly trading stock company. The Toronto Blue Jays baseball club is owned by Rogers Communications and it is difficult to figure out just how valuable the team really is because Toronto Blue Jays televised baseball games are a daily three-hour commercial for Rogers.

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The Atlanta Braves celebrate after winning baseball’s World Series in Game 6 against the Houston Astros Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, in Houston. The Braves won 7-0. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)