If you’re a baseball fan, you’re probably getting emails offering you the chance to purchase season and single game tickets for 2015. And if you buy them before the end of the year, you’ll make 2014 even bigger for Major League Baseball.
Forbes reports that MLB expects to close out 2014 with approximately $9 billion in revenue, a new record. The figure is up $1 billion from 2013, or a 13 percent increase.
The jump is due to a series of reasons, led by television deals. New broadcast deals with network partners FOX, ESPN , and TBS added an additional $788.3 million a year to the league’s coffers, according to Forbes.
There also were giant-sized local media rights agreements such as the one for the Los Angeles Dodgers that’s valued at between $7 billion and $8 billion (30 percent is distributed as revenue sharing). There also were multi-billion dollar deals for the Rangers, Angels, Mariners, Padres, Phillies, to be joined soon by the Astros, which is restructuring its broadcast deal.
A new factor is MLB Advanced Media, the folks that bring you MLB games on your iPhone and iPad. MLB Advanced media also supplies streaming services to ESPN, the WWE, CBS, and it will provide infrastructure for a new HBO streaming service. Forbes estimates that MLB Advanced Media alone could provide the league with $1 billion a year in revenue.
It’s a mind-boggling contrast to 1995, when MLB revenue was $1.4 billion ($2.14 billion taking inflation into account). And, as we reported earlier this fall, MLB has become pretty much a year-around activity.
No wonder those emails for 2015 have already popped up. “Play ball!” has never been so lucrative.
Get today’s business news in your inbox–sign up for our daily Must Read Money Stories.