April 24, 2014

Playing with House Money: Why I think the Dolans should consider selling the Indians

The Dolan family needs to step away from the blackjack table and leave the casino with house money well in hand.

After selling STO to FOX, they need to go to the next level and sell the team before they lose any of that money they just “won.” This is the only way I know how to describe what just occurred with their sale of STO to FOX Sports for an estimated $230 million while also selling the broadcast rights for $40 million a year.

First of all, this isn’t some angry fan thing that is telling the Dolans to go away. This is purely how I see it in light of the recent business victory the Dolan family scored. Some may think it’s wrong to liken the situation to gambling when the Dolan family built STO in order to leverage the Indians’ broadcasting rights. They built a new company and sold it, so why would that be anything like gambling?

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Baseball needs a taste of the NFL’s collusion

I continue to chuckle when I see pundits get angry about the NFL colluding and forcing the Cowboys and Redskins to pay for their players the way the contracts were originally designed. In the end, I take some umbrage with the use of the word “punishment” when the NFL just forced the Redskins to pay for Haynesworth’s deal over the course of a couple years. A punishment would have been adding on a penalty on top of it in my point of view. Regardless, to think that there’s something wrong with this collusion in professional sports is laughable when looking at Major League Baseball. In the end, the Cowboys and Redskins tried to use their deep pockets to gain an advantage over other teams. They tried to buy their way out of bad contracts they signed. In Major League Baseball there is no need for such shenanigans. Baseball could use a bit more collusion if anything.

Before you accuse me, I am not defending MLB owners. These guys make their own beds. Nobody forces teams to sign guys to ten year deals for fractions of billions of dollars. In many cases these deals seem to strike themselves without multiple bidders. Maybe it just goes to show the power of baseball agents. No matter. I am not defending baseball owners. I couldn’t care less what’s best for them and their checking accounts except where it impacts me as a Cleveland Indians fan. In this case the Dolans aren’t an ownership group with funny money. [Read more...]

STO, Slush Funds, and MLB’s TV Problem

In August of 2010, Deadspin.com got a hold of a few MLB teams’ internal financial statements.  This was kind of big deal, since baseball teams are private companies, and private companies do not typically go around disclosing their financial activity to anyone and everyone with an internet connection.  We were finally going to get to see things like total revenue figures not just for home attendance, but for revenue sharing deals, broadcasting rights, and stadium naming contracts.  On top of that, we’d get to see various expense items as well as bottom line figures like net profit (or loss).  In other words, we’d be privy to a bunch of stuff that MLB and its teams hoped to keep hidden.  Yes, this made the voyeur in all of us very happy.  It also made MLB very mad; Selig petitioned a New York judge to “help plug its leaks”.  Gross?  Maybe.  Fun?  Absolutely.

It turned out that despite my most ardent wishes, the Indians were not among the six teams whose private finances were leaked.  Oh, the times we could have had, Internet!  The Pittsburgh Pirates weren’t so lucky, and their dirty secrets were particularly dirty: in 2007 and 2008, the Pirates averaged $51 million per year in player salaries (that’s low), yet they had some of the biggest profits of any revealed team—nearly $22 million in 2008 alone. [Read more...]

Why I Love Jim Donovan

Channel 3 Sports Director and radio voice of the Browns, Jim Donovan, is taking a leave of absence to undergo a bone marrow transplant.  Remarkably, the ebullient Donovan has been battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia for over a decade – his colleagues, viewers, and listeners unaware all this time.

Donovan made the announcement on his Channel 3 sportscast last night, stating, “My goal is to get healthy and be back covering Cleveland sports as soon as possible. I’m going to really miss my job. I love what I do.”

Donovan has been the media face (and voice) of the Browns since their return in 1999.  Much like Nev Chandler to the previous generation, Browns fans who have grown up in this new era over this past decade have an instant connection with Donovan.

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Twins 5, Indians 1: If a Team Loses in Minneapolis, and Nobody Sees It…

Thanks to the ingenious programmers at STO, yesterday’s Indians game wasn’t televised.  Someday, someone will explain to me the fantastic strategy of creating a network that chooses not to televise the events that it was created to televise.  I imagine the decision goes something like this:

Production Manager: Hey guys, I was thinking about not televising tomorrow’s game.

Voice of Reason: That seems silly.  I mean we already have the crew here in Minnesota, and it’s not like Rick and Matt have anything else to do tomorrow.  You do realize that Minnesota has the highest per capita rate of alcoholism in the country, right?  I’m just saying, giving everyone the day off might not be smart.

Production Manager: That’s a great point, but we have at least two high school football games that took place three weeks ago that we’ve only televised 17 times in the last three days.  On top of that, we have, like, 29 hours of Joe Thomas shooting animals that’s just sitting on the cutting-room floor, so I think the Indians will have to take a backseat. [Read more...]

God Bless Bruce Drennan

Love him or hate him, STO’s Bruce Drennan is certainly passionate about Cleveland sports. Don’t believe me? Don’t miss the absolute CLASSIC reaction after yesterday’s 5-4 stunner of an Indians loss.

I’m just gonna say that I don’t care what Drennan has done in the past, this rant is the finest five minutes of his broadcasting career. That Branyan “first tee” blast made me spit out my water. Best of all, Drennan is ripping the team on its own TV station!

Kudos Bruce, you are doing fine work my friend.