The Miami Marlins young nucleus of players surprised everyone when they advanced to the playoffs in last year’s COVID-19 shortened schedule of games. But their secret weapon in taking a step toward building a consistent winner might be their next TV deal.
Last October, the Marlins concluded the final year of their local TV rights deal with the Sinclair owned FOX Sports Florida. The deal was the worst TV partnership in baseball, earning the Marlins just $20 million per year in rights revenue.
According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, Marlins majority owner Bruce Sherman recently told reporters he expects the organization’s next TV agreement to see a big uptick in annual revenue.
“I wouldn’t be satisfied at that level,” Sherman said when asked if the new deal will more than double the Marlins previous yearly rights agreement. “We’re excited to be competitive with the other teams. We’re in a very good market in terms of population.”
One recent TV rights partnership negotiated by Sinclair paid the Kansas City Royals $50 million annually. But the comments by Sherman make it seem like that might not be enough, which is in lockstep with minority-owner and CEO Derek Jeter. Before Jeter officially took over as CEO, he was reportedly shown a $50 million rights extension offer by Marlins previous ownership, which he declined.
Earlier this week the Milwaukee Brewers announced a new multi-year carriage deal with FOX Sports Wisconsin, but terms were not disclosed. Two years ago, the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to a deal that would pay them an average of $82 million annually, while baseball’s top RSN contracts net teams closer to $200 million. The Rays and Royals deals, as well as the reported $50 million offer presented to Jeter all took place before COVID-19. How the pandemic impacts current rights agreements remains to be seen.