Meanwhile, a couple of the divisional races aren't quite locked up. But even if your team isn't in the hunt, there's always the dingers. More home runs have been hit this year than any other season in history. With plenty of baseball left to play, who knows how huge the new record will end up? If you want to watch this home-run-heavy action live during the season's home stretch, you've got options.
This is only natural: those are the two parties which must ultimately agree upon the terms of a new deal.
The owners themselves could have some fairly contentious discussions in deciding their own strategy, particularly when it comes to sharing revenue among the teams. Big-market teams have long gained an advantage on revenues at the gate, but increasingly, the advantage has come from television revenue from local cable networks.
Teams continue to sign billion-dollar deals that include an ownership stake, and determining how to divide that money could prove difficult.
It has been a few years at FanGraphs since Wendy Thurm documented the local cable television deals for all MLB teams, and this post aims to provide an update. The work she did helped inform this post as well as a few others to provide a base for research.
When we hear about television deals, we often think of them in terms of the average annual value they provide. That practice is less common under other circumstances, however, with deals often paying a smaller sum at the beginning of a contract and increasing over time.
Television contracts are often structured in this second way.
The team , and 10 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East. The Phillies , meanwhile, are locked in an NL East chase with the Atlanta Braves , who are proving to be troublesome down the stretch.
I did my best to include only contracted revenue — i. Note that, particularly with respect to the Chicago teams, as well as the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox, that the revenue estimates actually might include money from network ownership.
It was difficult to parse those figures. If the graph above leads one to believe that big-market teams are reaping most of the benefits while the small-market teams are left with a relative pittance, that view is supported by market information.
Especially for the simplicity of the categories utilized on the axes — that is, merely the number of households in the principal market and the television revenue estimates.
Teams and networks make their money on getting their broadcasts to appear within the standard cable lineup and charging a per-subscriber fee, and the result is that more homes means more money to give to teams.
By and large, the bigger-market teams have been able to negotiate more favorable setups when it comes to ownership. The graph below depicts the ownership stakes teams have in the network that airs their team.
The Blue Jays are likely only receiving a portion of the television money while the rest stays with the parent company.
For the most part, the teams receiving an ownership share of the network are in the big markets. Only the San Diego Padres, and maybe the St. Louis Cardinals, are located in what would be considered a small market.
The Cardinals might be in a small-market television-wise; they operate on a larger scale, however, due to attendance. Their deal with the ownership stake does not begin until the season. This shielding of revenue is also where the dispute between the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals is relevant.
The chart below shows the estimates, the total deal, if known, the start and end of the deal, the ownership stake, and a link with more information.