Nutting on Local TV Revenue Escalation

OK, I swear this is the last post/article I do on local TV revenue and its potential effect on the smaller TV markets in MLB.  Even though it is an issue bubbling under the surface that will have major impacts on the landscape for the next 5-10 years probably.

Kristy Robinson interviewed Bob Nutting recently and asked him about the local TV contracts being proliferated throughout MLB.  Here was his response on whether they had a fair deal with ROOT Sports:

We’re very pleased with our partners at Root. I think it’s a good relationship. I hate to say anything’s ever a fair deal, or a good deal. I think we have a very solid relationship, a very good deal that puts us in a solid position to be able to move forward.

Kristy asked about the growing disparity between small-market and big markets such as Anaheim with TV money:

There’s obviously disparity in baseball, and market size. That’s been true for a long time. I have been very consistent, very committed that we’re never going to let that be an excuse. It’s important what other markets are able to do, but it’s most important what we can do in Pittsburgh. You’ll never hear me blame the system. We need to understand the system that we have. We need to understand the resources that we have. And we need to maximize our opportunity given the tools we have realistically in front of us. Does it matter that another team is in a big media market? Does it matter whether it’s L.A. or New York? We can’t focus on that. That’s going to be a distraction. I can’t let [General Manger] Neal [Huntington] focus on that. We’ll never use that as an excuse.

OK, Nutting won’t let it be used as an excuse.  That is admirable, but will he provide the resources (i.e. cash money) to help minimize the growing disparity between markets?

I am dreading the day, most likely within the next year, when the Chicago Cubs announce a new mega-deal for increased rights fees.  The Cubs are the sleeping giant in the NL Central that have the market and potential resources (the owner and the TV contract potential) to dominate the division for years at a time.  The hiring of Epstein as club President was step one.  This would be step two.

  • The Pirates actually benefit from these big tv deals signed by the Angels, Rangers and Padres recently. They will see revenue sharing from each of them so while their own deal with Root might pale in comparison to others, they likely make more just off of the combined total of what other teams get paid for their tv rights. It would be nice to get a better deal on their own but anytime another team signs a big tv deal, especially teams out of the NL Central, it definitely benefits the Pirates.

    • Agree that they get the backsplash off the deal.  Frank Coonelly mentioned that at Piratefest when we first brought this story up. 
      However, it is pennies on the dollar compared to the actual deal.

      And as I mentioned, I’m very concerned that the Cubs are next in line in the near future to re-work their deal.

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