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NFT: MLB looking at expansion & realignment?

Sean : 10/16/2017 6:11 pm
Highlights from the article:

-Expansion in Portland & Montreal

-Realignment to 4 eight team divisions

-Playoffs increased to 12 teams

-Season reduces to 156 games

I donít know if the talent pool is there to support 32 teams. More geographically broken down divisions will improve travel.
Whoops  
Sean : 10/16/2017 6:15 pm : link
link below
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Manfred's been open to expansion,  
Mad Mike : 10/16/2017 6:16 pm : link
but he's also been pretty adamant that Tampa and Oakland need to get their stadium situations resolved first, so who knows that might take.
The talent pool is there, i think  
MetsAreBack : 10/16/2017 6:17 pm : link
though I'd prefer they look to relocate Miami, Tampa and Oakland before adding new teams. But I know expansion fees talk - meanwhile the average beer price is $15, the avg hot dog price is $10... and i read somewhere the average salary of the top 140 players is $17 million per year.

How is this labor market/business model not crashing especially with cord cutting? Its got to be a matter of time, right?

Anyway, I kind of like the playoffs as is but i want the first round to go to 4 of 7 ... right now the 3 of 5 with two off days benefits teams too much with that ace pitcher or a few bullpen guys. Longer series make it more of a team playoff series.

I'm all for reducing the regular season - I'd prefer 144 games and the season starting in mid April with more off-days to better protect guys no longer juicing, not to mention bullpen arms (why again do teams need to play 13 straight days and sometimes with some rainouts, 27 games in 28 days in August) -- but i guess baby steps.
They could expand to 45 teams  
MBavaro : 10/16/2017 6:18 pm : link
for all I care, as long as one of them is in Montreal.

I want a team back there!!!!!
I don't get watering down the product.  
robbieballs2003 : 10/16/2017 6:22 pm : link
Baseball is slowly growing again. These leagues seem to want to do this at a rapid rate and they are killing these sports. Football has drastically gone downhill with their product. People may still be watching but everybody seems to agree that the lack of practice time has killed the OL and tackling. Stretching games on short rest to Thursday and Saturday, as well as Sunday and Monday, leaves a lot to be desired. Then you have them playing games in different countries and wanting to eventually have a franchise in London.

It wouldn't surprise me if Hockey becomes way more mainstream over the next 10 years or so because of how the NFL has watered down their product and how the NBA has these super teams.
The talent pool is deep enough  
DennyInDenville : 10/16/2017 6:32 pm : link
I kinda like it but I would not touch the playoff format
adding more playoff teams would be horrible  
pierce58 : 10/16/2017 6:36 pm : link
One of the main reasons I enjoy MLB and NFL over hockey and bball is that not every team makes the playoffs. A 156 game meaningless season, because half the teams makes the playoffs sounds horrendous, No thanks.
put a team ...  
Csonka : 10/16/2017 6:41 pm : link
in the Dominican Republic.
Vegas baby, we're booming!  
gtt350 : 10/16/2017 6:43 pm : link
.
CHarlotte could use a team  
superspynyg : 10/16/2017 6:45 pm : link
Big city that has an NFL team, NBA team and a NHL team.
No need to expand  
Dave in PA : 10/16/2017 6:49 pm : link
Just find a way to get the A's up to Portland and the Rays up to Montreal. I also very much dislike the idea of additional playoff teams. Baseball is too long of a season for it not to actually mean something special to make the dance
Las VEgas baby  
spike : 10/16/2017 7:03 pm : link
Portland
Montreal
San Antonio
If the 8 wild card teams  
MBavaro : 10/16/2017 7:03 pm : link
played a one game playoff, I'd be ok with it.

If they turned that into a best of 5, or even 3, that'd be ridiculous.
Expanding the playoffs is a terrible idea.  
Red Dog : 10/16/2017 7:36 pm : link
.
162 games is  
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 10/16/2017 7:40 pm : link
way too long. Knock it down to like 152 or 154.
Put the Yanks and Mets  
Kevin(formerly Tiki4Six) : 10/16/2017 7:40 pm : link
In the same division
RE: If the 8 wild card teams  
Jim in Fairfax : 10/16/2017 7:46 pm : link
In comment 13652320 MBavaro said:
Quote:
played a one game playoff, I'd be ok with it.

If they turned that into a best of 5, or even 3, that'd be ridiculous.

They already play best of 5 in the LDS series, so it would be the same as far as that goes. And the 1 game wild card playoff would be eliminated. But the division winners having a week off seems bad for them.
Also...  
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 10/16/2017 7:49 pm : link
Portland's an odd choice of a city. I've been to Portland multiple times & I wouldn't call it a baseball crazed town. They love their Blazers obviously so maybe they'd love another professional sports team too.
Split the teams into two divisions  
JohnF : 10/16/2017 7:52 pm : link
with promotion and religation (like the Premier League and Champion League in England). You could take the bottom three teams of the upper division, and swap them with the top three teams of the lower division every year.

It's a great incentive for owners to invest in their team, and get good FO people. It's also better than 6 weeks or more of playoffs.
RE: CHarlotte could use a team  
Aloha Alan : 10/16/2017 8:45 pm : link
In comment 13652306 superspynyg said:
Quote:
Big city that has an NFL team, NBA team and a NHL team.


The the NHL Carolina Hurricanes are actually in Raleigh.
RE: 162 games is  
Knineteen : 10/16/2017 9:05 pm : link
In comment 13652350 SFGFNCGiantsFan said:
Quote:
way too long. Knock it down to like 152 or 154.

You want to reduce a "way too long" season by 2-3 series as a fix?

How about 120 games a season...something a lot more reasonable.
2 markets  
old man : 10/16/2017 9:13 pm : link
that could play their top competition in a double A ballpark and still have available seating and he wants to expand.
Priceless.
Just when you have the Boston-Yanks rivalry back, the Cubs and Cleveland back, the CWS with a ton of prospects, the Marlins new ownership with a winner co-owner, the Dodgers +/- +the Yanks, and AZ & Rockies well managed: Lets break that all up.
IK it's about the billionaire owners,and the money, but you get a watered down game and the '62 Mets before you get the '69 Mets, and likely for more than 7 years.
RE: The talent pool is there, i think  
Gatorade Dunk : 10/17/2017 7:08 am : link
In comment 13652282 MetsAreBack said:
Quote:
though I'd prefer they look to relocate Miami, Tampa and Oakland before adding new teams. But I know expansion fees talk - meanwhile the average beer price is $15, the avg hot dog price is $10... and i read somewhere the average salary of the top 140 players is $17 million per year.

How is this labor market/business model not crashing especially with cord cutting? Its got to be a matter of time, right?

Anyway, I kind of like the playoffs as is but i want the first round to go to 4 of 7 ... right now the 3 of 5 with two off days benefits teams too much with that ace pitcher or a few bullpen guys. Longer series make it more of a team playoff series.

I'm all for reducing the regular season - I'd prefer 144 games and the season starting in mid April with more off-days to better protect guys no longer juicing, not to mention bullpen arms (why again do teams need to play 13 straight days and sometimes with some rainouts, 27 games in 28 days in August) -- but i guess baby steps.

Unlike some of the other major sports, baseball is far less dependent on national TV contracts. The baseball business model is far more stable than what the NFL could potentially be facing. MLB has also done a good job of making their online/mobile offering available and (comparably) affordable (especially relative to Sunday Ticket). Overall, MLB is positioned fairly well for the brave new world.

Beyond that, though, it's important to realize that the effects of cord-cutting have not yet really begun to be felt by the leagues, in that they are still operating under broadcast rights agreements that were negotiated before streaming was a serious threat to the traditional TV model.
I think expanding is a mistake, especially by 4 teams. I agree  
Victor in CT : 10/17/2017 8:44 am : link
they have to move Tampa and I think Montreal makes sense.

I don't like the idea of expanding the playoffs. Making the playoffs in baseball actually MEANS something. And the regular season actually matters with the current setup.
Good idea  
Rover : 10/17/2017 9:42 am : link
1. Baseball easily has enough talent for 32 teams if football does and hockey has 31 teams.

2. Montreal deserves a team, but I'd rather see Vancouver than Portland.

3. We should have 4 8 team divisions NOW...with the two best non-division winners getting WCs, no WC play in game.

4. Expand the playoffs...too many regular season games.
I know it sounds disingenuous to expand  
Section331 : 10/17/2017 9:49 am : link
when the sport hasn't been killing it, but in some ways it makes a lot of sense. So much of MLB's revs come from regional sports nets, locking down additional regions could be a smart move. I love the idea of reducing the schedule, but I'm not sure how a 12-team playoff would work. We could be playing the WS in December!
I will add, if they do add 2 teams,  
Section331 : 10/17/2017 9:51 am : link
someone will hit 70 HR's, if only one.
"baseball is far less dependent on national TV contracts"  
Enzo : 10/17/2017 9:52 am : link
Local/regional sport networks subscriptions will in fact decrease as more people cut the cord. All sports are going to have to figure out how to make up the shortfall as their current tv contracts (local and national) expire.
Charlotte is a  
Metnut : 10/17/2017 9:55 am : link
better relocation option than either Montreal or Portland. Charlotte has led AAA attendance (both PCL and International) since 2014 beating out Portland whose AAA team does middling. Montreal already had its opportunity for an MLB team and the place was a ghost down for years and an embarrassment to MLB similar to the TB and OAK situations today.
Nashville is a growing city centrally located  
steve in ky : 10/17/2017 11:40 am : link
enough it should be able to support a MLB team. They already support an NFL and NHL team.
RE:  
Gatorade Dunk : 10/17/2017 5:41 pm : link
In comment 13653100 Enzo said:
Quote:
Local/regional sport networks subscriptions will in fact decrease as more people cut the cord. All sports are going to have to figure out how to make up the shortfall as their current tv contracts (local and national) expire.

I should have stated, baseball is less dependent on TV in any form than the NFL. They have 10x the number of home games and even with an average per-game attendance that is roughly half of what the NFL averages, the "live" revenue for MLB exceeds any other sports league in the US. Because of the number of games, the sponsorship revenue is also very healthy relative to other leagues.

Also, as I said earlier in the thread, MLB has done a very good job of being ahead of the market with offering an online/mobile viewing platform that is specifically intended to claw back some of the revenue drift due to cord-cutting. Contrast that to the NFL, which continues to make Sunday Ticket exclusive and has restrictions on Game Pass that make it more of an enhancement to live TV than a replacement.

Say what you will, but despite baseball's reputation for having been behind the times as other leagues have surpassed MLB in popularity, they've actually positioned themselves fairly well for revenue continuity into the next few years.
RE: They could expand to 45 teams  
JerryNYG : 10/17/2017 7:09 pm : link
In comment 13652284 MBavaro said:
Quote:
for all I care, as long as one of them is in Montreal.

I want a team back there!!!!!


Amen. Preferably an AL East team.
RE: put a team ...  
Modus Operandi : 10/17/2017 7:24 pm : link
In comment 13652299 Csonka said:
Quote:
in the Dominican Republic.


Dominican players are coming here so that they can get out of that dumpster fire of an island.

Why would we put a professional team out there?
GDP per capita  
Modus Operandi : 10/17/2017 7:41 pm : link
Dominican Republic - 17,000
Haiti - 5,000

Portland Metro Area - 68,000

Producing good ball players doesn't mean that country is suited to support a pro club.
Gatorade  
MetsAreBack : 10/17/2017 9:00 pm : link
It's an interesting take and I'll look into the online model they've put out, but tv revenues are going to come down and at some point, it might take some practical tax reform, but who is going to continue to pay $200 a seat for a Tuesday night game in may - as you say, baseball games are worth 1/10th a football game.

The average position player makes north of $15 million per season. Meanwhile I make a decent income, but without a company paying my way I can't justify sitting in the upper deck and still spending $500 on an afternoon game that barely means anything.

I reiterate common sense isn't there - this is a bubble. One way or another salaries and team revenues are coming down.
*500 for my family  
MetsAreBack : 10/17/2017 9:01 pm : link
.
RE: Gatorade  
Gatorade Dunk : 10/17/2017 10:26 pm : link
In comment 13654415 MetsAreBack said:
Quote:
It's an interesting take and I'll look into the online model they've put out, but tv revenues are going to come down and at some point, it might take some practical tax reform, but who is going to continue to pay $200 a seat for a Tuesday night game in may - as you say, baseball games are worth 1/10th a football game.

The average position player makes north of $15 million per season. Meanwhile I make a decent income, but without a company paying my way I can't justify sitting in the upper deck and still spending $500 on an afternoon game that barely means anything.

I reiterate common sense isn't there - this is a bubble. One way or another salaries and team revenues are coming down.

I didn't say the games were worth 1/10. I said there were 10x MLB games. Value doesn't track directly to inventory. And with rosters half the size of NFL rosters, there's more opportunity to apply revenue to payroll (and that's without considering how much more powerful the MLBPA is compared to the NFLPA).

Pricing is not tied to roster costs. The entire business is profitable with excellent economy of scale, which decouples revenue directly from roster expenses. If you're paying $200 per seat and can't afford it - that's either because you're buying locations that are beyond your means or you're buying from the secondary market, which is - again - not tied to the league's business model. If you're paying $500 for upper deck on a weekday, you're almost definitely buying from the secondary market - that's not the same and you should recognize it as such; it's simply a byproduct of supply and demand. Or you might be exaggerating, which also seems like a possibility.
a team in Montreal  
RasputinPrime : 10/17/2017 11:35 pm : link
and a team in Vancouver.

Frack Toronto in its tv-rights @ss.
I think i was pretty clear I said for family  
MetsAreBack : 10/18/2017 7:12 am : link
So $75 per ticket x 4 = $300. Plus parking. Plus food and drinks. Plus some souvenir for the kids.

Yeah sounds pretty reasonable to me - not sure where your accusations of exaggeration come from.

Baseballs model is a bubble. Sounds like that may end up impacting your career. Sorry.
The talent is there  
AnnapolisMike : 10/18/2017 8:35 am : link
But how do you keep the playoffs from becoming a joke. The playoffs feel right in the current format. 3 rounds and a wild card game is OK.

Adding a third round is really going to water down the product and eliminate the better teams early.
Charlotte..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 10/18/2017 8:53 am : link
can't support a MLB team. They've run the estimates for years and while they draw well for the AAA team, you wouldn't get the sustained support needed. Charlotte is a perfect place for a minor league team, though.

I don't like the idea of reducing the number of games played, but I wouldn't mind if instead of expanding the playoffs, they let the two wild card teams play against two division winners in a full series.
And hell..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 10/18/2017 8:55 am : link
I'm taking my family to the Virginia Tech game this weekend while tying in a college visit for my daughter.

The tickets for 4 were $225 - not to mention the cost of gas and food and we are looking at a likely $350 day.
Only in NY are people paying $75 for upper deck tickets  
Greg from LI : 10/18/2017 10:04 am : link
I go to Camden Yards every now and then and upper deck tix are around $20 I think.
and, quite frankly, only the rich or foolish buy food and drinks at  
Greg from LI : 10/18/2017 10:06 am : link
the park. We almost never do, even here at AA games in Richmond. The hell with those prices.
RE: And hell..  
Greg from LI : 10/18/2017 10:08 am : link
In comment 13654613 FatMan in Charlotte said:
Quote:
I'm taking my family to the Virginia Tech game this weekend while tying in a college visit for my daughter.


Wait, a college visit? Doesn't your daughter have a soul??
RE: I think i was pretty clear I said for family  
Gatorade Dunk : 10/18/2017 2:34 pm : link
In comment 13654562 MetsAreBack said:
Quote:
So $75 per ticket x 4 = $300. Plus parking. Plus food and drinks. Plus some souvenir for the kids.

Yeah sounds pretty reasonable to me - not sure where your accusations of exaggeration come from.

Baseballs model is a bubble. Sounds like that may end up impacting your career. Sorry.

No, it won't. I did work in baseball for years though (don't anymore), and know their model fairly well.

When you start adding on F&B + souvenirs, of course your expenses are going to stack up. And it still does sound like you probably bought your tickets on the secondary market, which is not truly representative of baseball's primary D2C model - those tickets are already bought and paid for from the club's POV, so whatever incremental margins are added by brokers are not really putting their model at risk. Now, if the secondary market craters, that puts a lot of stress onto the primary model because most teams do some level of derisking by selling directly to resellers.

But that wouldn't result in a burst bubble; it would require a pivot by way of incentivizing D2C season tickets (or full-season equivalents in the form of mini-plan partitioning) and there would obviously be some level of adjustment in that case. But it hasn't happened yet, and isn't something looming on the horizon - it's not like it's a new phenomenon that going to a game (in any sport) is an expensive proposition for John Q. Public.

Nevertheless, the original premise was that cord-cutting was going to cause a financial strain on MLB and my point still stands that baseball is far less dependent on TV revenue than other sports, particularly football.
RE: I think i was pretty clear I said for family  
Gatorade Dunk : 10/18/2017 2:41 pm : link
In comment 13654562 MetsAreBack said:
Quote:
So $75 per ticket x 4 = $300. Plus parking. Plus food and drinks. Plus some souvenir for the kids.

Yeah sounds pretty reasonable to me - not sure where your accusations of exaggeration come from.

Baseballs model is a bubble. Sounds like that may end up impacting your career. Sorry.

You want to go to a Broadway show? It's going to cost you ~$100 per ticket. You want to go to a concert for an A-list band/artist at a major venue? It's going to cost you ~$100 per ticket. Are those revenue models built on a bubble also?

Hamilton had an average ticket price of $273 last week (and that's primary sales, not secondary market, which averaged close to double that), yet had an occupancy level of 101.8% (completely sold out and sold their maximum allowable SRO tickets). Is Hamilton on a bubble?

That's just what live sports/entertainment generally costs in/around NYC.
RE: No need to expand  
Matt M. : 10/18/2017 2:44 pm : link
In comment 13652309 Dave in PA said:
Quote:
Just find a way to get the A's up to Portland and the Rays up to Montreal. I also very much dislike the idea of additional playoff teams. Baseball is too long of a season for it not to actually mean something special to make the dance
Exactly. I don't think the talent pool is there for expansion and I don't think a team like the Rays should remain in Tampa while adding a new team elsewhere.
RE: Charlotte is a  
Matt M. : 10/18/2017 2:46 pm : link
In comment 13653106 Metnut said:
Quote:
better relocation option than either Montreal or Portland. Charlotte has led AAA attendance (both PCL and International) since 2014 beating out Portland whose AAA team does middling. Montreal already had its opportunity for an MLB team and the place was a ghost down for years and an embarrassment to MLB similar to the TB and OAK situations today.
I could get behind this. I commented on Portland and Montreal for relocations not because I think they are the best spots. But, I'd rather move teams there than expand there. But, as you say, there are some more favorable options for either relocation or expansion.
RE:  
Matt M. : 10/18/2017 2:47 pm : link
In comment 13653100 Enzo said:
Quote:
Local/regional sport networks subscriptions will in fact decrease as more people cut the cord. All sports are going to have to figure out how to make up the shortfall as their current tv contracts (local and national) expire.
The local contracts would just shift from TV to streaming subscriptions.
LOL...  
FatMan in Charlotte : 10/18/2017 3:08 pm : link
Quote:
Wait, a college visit? Doesn't your daughter have a soul??


I was filled with regret as soon as I hit submit!!
RE: LOL...  
Greg from LI : 10/18/2017 3:10 pm : link
In comment 13655221 FatMan in Charlotte said:
Quote:


Quote:


Wait, a college visit? Doesn't your daughter have a soul??



I was filled with regret as soon as I hit submit!!


Better pack some Mossy Oak overalls - you don't want to stand out as high-falutin'.
RE: RE:  
Enzo : 10/18/2017 3:36 pm : link
In comment 13655174 Matt M. said:
Quote:
In comment 13653100 Enzo said:


Quote:


Local/regional sport networks subscriptions will in fact decrease as more people cut the cord. All sports are going to have to figure out how to make up the shortfall as their current tv contracts (local and national) expire.

The local contracts would just shift from TV to streaming subscriptions.

Slightly more complicated than that. How many of those local tv contracts are buttressed by people paying for subscriptions who never watch the channel? There's no guarantee streaming services can make up for that lost revenue as more and more cords are cut.
RE: Charlotte..  
Sandgluff : 10/18/2017 4:06 pm : link
In comment 13654607 FatMan in Charlotte said:
Quote:
can't support a MLB team. They've run the estimates for years and while they draw well for the AAA team, you wouldn't get the sustained support needed. Charlotte is a perfect place for a minor league team, though.

I don't like the idea of reducing the number of games played, but I wouldn't mind if instead of expanding the playoffs, they let the two wild card teams play against two division winners in a full series.


I agree with this, Charlotte is not a good location, the minor league games nobody is even watching the game, its a scene for millenials, cool place to go out early. They struggle to support the Hornets who only play 41 games. plus the summers are brutal, and the baseball season is long its not enjoyable sitting outside a good portion of the season, and so many transplants. Now Id like to see an MLS team in Charlotte, that is something I think the city could get behind, small stadium, less games etc...
RE: RE: I think i was pretty clear I said for family  
Victor in CT : 10/18/2017 4:26 pm : link
In comment 13655154 Gatorade Dunk said:
Quote:
In comment 13654562 MetsAreBack said:


Quote:


So $75 per ticket x 4 = $300. Plus parking. Plus food and drinks. Plus some souvenir for the kids.

Yeah sounds pretty reasonable to me - not sure where your accusations of exaggeration come from.

Baseballs model is a bubble. Sounds like that may end up impacting your career. Sorry.


You want to go to a Broadway show? It's going to cost you ~$100 per ticket. You want to go to a concert for an A-list band/artist at a major venue? It's going to cost you ~$100 per ticket. Are those revenue models built on a bubble also?

Hamilton had an average ticket price of $273 last week (and that's primary sales, not secondary market, which averaged close to double that), yet had an occupancy level of 101.8% (completely sold out and sold their maximum allowable SRO tickets). Is Hamilton on a bubble?

That's just what live sports/entertainment generally costs in/around NYC.


but a Broadway show is once. There is no subscription. MLB teams need season ticket base.
RE: RE: RE: I think i was pretty clear I said for family  
Gatorade Dunk : 10/18/2017 8:27 pm : link
In comment 13655336 Victor in CT said:
Quote:
In comment 13655154 Gatorade Dunk said:


Quote:


In comment 13654562 MetsAreBack said:


Quote:


So $75 per ticket x 4 = $300. Plus parking. Plus food and drinks. Plus some souvenir for the kids.

Yeah sounds pretty reasonable to me - not sure where your accusations of exaggeration come from.

Baseballs model is a bubble. Sounds like that may end up impacting your career. Sorry.


You want to go to a Broadway show? It's going to cost you ~$100 per ticket. You want to go to a concert for an A-list band/artist at a major venue? It's going to cost you ~$100 per ticket. Are those revenue models built on a bubble also?

Hamilton had an average ticket price of $273 last week (and that's primary sales, not secondary market, which averaged close to double that), yet had an occupancy level of 101.8% (completely sold out and sold their maximum allowable SRO tickets). Is Hamilton on a bubble?

That's just what live sports/entertainment generally costs in/around NYC.



but a Broadway show is once. There is no subscription. MLB teams need season ticket base.

The seats that MAB is referring to range from $25-$35 for season subs. There is a volume discount baked in.
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