22 thoughts on “I am not optimistic”

  1. The Braves have it overall good. They have a beautiful outdoor stadium that doesn’t have a roof on it. They have an 80 million budget, which despite the talk is really good.

    The only real flaw is being on of only, I think it’s four teams in MLB to have a corporation own them. It’s time for MLB to consider banning corporate ownership like the NFL has.

  2. Any transfer of ownership has to be approved by the owners. Czar Bud I has said that there is a bias towards personal ownership, but seemed to have no problem with the Liberty thing when it was first announced that it was in the works.

  3. When this was first reported didn’t I read that liberty wouldn’t keep the team very long? Only a few years?

  4. I want to think – and this is based on my very faulty memory – that there may be a set of tax breaks for MLB owners for their first five years of ownership. Again, don’t quote me on it, i could be wrong there. But if so, that may be how long Liberty owns the team.

    Who knows, maybe that’ll incentivize them to at least not slash and burn payroll, if for no other reason than to avoid killing the value of the team for a planned resale.

  5. There’s a rule having to do with asset depreciation, but I don’t knwo if that’s still valid. Liberty has to own the team for a period of years (two or three, I’m not sure) to make this stock swap/tax break legal, otherwise they have to pay taxes on the cash.

  6. Yeah, here is a petition that started almost a year ago regarding the issue.
    I don’t see an online petition really making that much of a difference other than unifying braves fans who feel the same way.

    http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/MLB_Atlanta_Braves_Sale#sign

    As much as I don’t like it, the way I see it is this: The people who have the power to stop this don’t really care. I mean, why would they? To them I don’t see it being a question of who buys the team but that the team gets sold soon.

    I hope I’m wrong about that.

  7. Trying to take the long view, I view the sale as (hopefully) the beginning of the end of our corporate bean-counter overlords. Given the reason for Liberty Media’s purchase, you get no sense that anyone there gives a damn about the product on the field — the absence of any quotes to that effect from any Liberty exec in the AJC article speaks volumes. Has anyone at Liberty gone on record at any point about maintaining competitiveness during their (again, hopefully) brief stewardship?

  8. On FSN a Liberty Media executive talked about making a “splash” and increasing the Braves’ payroll after the 2007 season. So the Braves could have more money for 2008, which could mean Smoltz, Andruw or both or whatever.

  9. Liberty has to hold the Braves (which, in their split out includes $2,000,000,000 or so in cash) together for two years to not pay tax on the cash as a “cash rich” exchange.

    If Liberty want to get the best price after two years, they have a strong incentive to have the most saleable product. Therefore, I expect some salary relief fairly soon followed by some further development. The big problem is that the management transition from Schuerholz and Cox to whoever may start before the new owner is in.

  10. If Liberty want to get the best price after two years, they have a strong incentive to have the most saleable product.

    Isn’t that the problem, though? You could use that same rationale to justify not increasing payroll, if the bottom line is the primary concern. Franchise valuation has little to do with the players presently taking the field — otherwise, the Washington Redskins wouldn’t be the most valuable franchise in the NFL.

    One factor in saleability would have to be long-term liability — the buyer wants as little as possible. This is why I see trouble ahead — in a time of general prosperity for the sport, in which long-term contracts became the norm in the off-season, we may be shying away from them.

  11. sansho1,
    i agree, we may have smoltz next year but A.Jones is gone. If there is more money to be had i have a feeling it will be used to lock up younger talent in a manor that will not strap the team and/or a future owner. Either way i don’t like this sale.

  12. Isn’t that the problem, though? You could use that same rationale to justify not increasing payroll

    Perhaps, but I see the potential losses from a drop in value as much larger than the potential benefits of some increased payroll.

    Put another way, if they decided to drop payroll by $10m a year they could save $30m over three years, but if the franchise record goes in the toilet then they could drop the franchise value by a lot more. But, if they increase payroll to $90m they lose $20m over two years but potentially help return the team the postseason and make it a much more attractive asset to sell.

    It looks pretty clear the team won’t be held by Liberty for too long. Maybe Blank knew that and hopes to pick them up cheaper as the only major bidder in two years time…

  13. It’s hard for me to imagine a worse corporate owner than Time Warner. When I saw this blurb, I erupted in joy at the knowledge that someone else – anyone else – would own the team. If it’s more of the same, that will be disappointing, but it won’t really be worse than the TW owners who slashed payroll and treated the team like a write-off. Right now I’m thinking any change is OK.

  14. It probably is the beginning of the end of corporate ownership. But as bad as Time Warner might be, individual ownership isn’t necessarily a panacea–look at the O’s, owned and run by Peter Angelos and his idiot sons. At least TW (and presumably, Liberty) lets the baseball people run the team and stays out of the way. Angelos blocks trading “fan favorite” Brian Roberts as if Baltimoreans are flocking to Camden Yards to see him while the team continues to lose. So, all I’m saying is, be careful what you wish for.

  15. We should organize a fans committee to buy the team. We could be like Arsenal in English football or the Green Bay Packers in the NFL.

  16. I’ve heard that before. I think it’s got something to do with not being able to extort local governments for new stadia anymore. It would be interesting to have the committee and the funds all ready to go and make a bid. It might not go anywhere but it would be nice to make them squirm a bit.

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