Kasten: Braves, Hawks and Thrashers sale ‘looms in future’ – 2002-09-30 – Atlanta Business Chronicle

It could be terrible news. AOL would probably try to sign a below-market deal (or extend the current below-market deal) with the new owners, making the Braves play for years with little return on broadcasting rights. And make no mistake, it’s TV money that makes the Braves a “large market” team. Worst-case scenario: Every player of consequence except Chipper would be dealt off, and Atlanta becomes Pittsburgh South.

On the other hand, maybe the new owners will get a TV package with an honest accounting of what the team is really worth to TBS and Turner South. (Or bolt to Fox if AOL won’t pay up. I think that’s unlikely, because the games are worth far more to a national cable network than to a regional one, and Turner South doesn’t even exist without the Braves.) That will put a stop to the constant poor-mouthing of Kasten and others who claim that the team is losing millions of dollars. It’s a paper loss, one that would not be doable if the Braves and TBS were truly separate entities.

I doubt the team will be sold any time soon. But the suits might want to cut costs to make the bottom line look better. I don’t think that cutting costs actually does that, but keep an eye out for yet more cuts in the farm system. That’s usually the first place they go.