Marlins Financials

CPA Jorge Costales has a new blog detailing the Florida Marlins Finances. He has put a lot of work into this project, and I think his posts are quite revealing.

Here is a brief description of his motivation and approach.

As someone with a financial background, I watch in slight amazement as the Marlins management suggests, typically without specifics [understandably we now understand], that they are not very 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 inquiries 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.

One of my favorite writers, GK Chesterton, notes that, “even a bad shot is dignified when they accept a duel.” The challenge in this case was not issued personally, I don’t know anyone directly with the Florida Marlins or MLB. But this blog, my KHR [Keep Hanley Ramirez] Project, is my response to the suggestion that understanding the Marlins’ finances is a difficult concept. It’s not, as long as we’re willing to think about it in a rational way.

One Response “Marlins Financials”

  1. Marc Schneider says:

    As long as people fall for the canards that (1)baseball teams are not profitable, and (2) that publicly-financed stadiums help the community, baseball (and other sports) will be able to blackmail local officials into spending taxpayers money to build these things.

    When I complained on Braves Journal about DC spending taxpayer money on the new stadium, someone responded

    “And Marc, regarding your hue and cry over ‘the taxpayers’, anything stadium related usually equals out to about 1-5 cents extra in taxes, for the record. If you’re not willing to pay that, that’s your own deal.”

    Well, if that’s the case, it would be a lot more economically productive, it seems to me, to build a plant with public money to entice, say, an auto maker to bring jobs that would be a hell of a lot better for the community than selling hot dogs at a ballpark.

    The point is, people are continually up in arms over how Scott Boras, for example, has ruined baseball as if these teams are so poor now from paying players that they need charity in the form of a publicly-financed ballpark. Same thing with the Braves–we have continually been told over the years that Time Warner was losing millions with the Braves; this was used to justify cutting payroll. Now we find that Liberty is making a “small profit.”

    And, of course, the Marlins have finally hoodwinked Miami into giving them a ball park.