Home Substantial portion Sam Kennedy and Tom Werner discuss the changing economic landscape of baseball

Sam Kennedy and Tom Werner discuss the changing economic landscape of baseball


In addition to starting to pitch, Kennedy emphasized better defense and more offense in the areas that Chaim Bloom and the baseball operations staff are working on.

Business talks have resumed, with the club continuing to examine the free agent market and working on contract extensions with young players such as Rafael Devers.

Kennedy said the prospect of making at least one deal before Dec. 1 was a possibility.

“I would say absolutely yes,” Kennedy said. “It just depends on how the deal is evaluated, if that is what we’re trying to do in the long term. I think we have shown a will and a capacity to achieve a very difficult objective, which is to win in the short term but also to build for the long term.

While it’s “business as usual” for the front office during a volatile time on the work front, Werner expressed hope that the baseball business wouldn’t have to close if the owners imposed a lockout to players from December 2. .

“A lot of deals are resolved at the last minute,” Werner said. “We have made a number of constructive proposals and we hope there will be a resolution in the coming weeks.

“[Red Sox principal owner] John [Henry] is on the labor policy committee, so he’s closer to it than we are, but for the record, I can say it’s in everyone’s best interest not to have a work stoppage. So, I hope we will find a solution.

(Henry also owns the Globe.)

Baseball’s economic health from what was hopefully the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic last year was an integral part of the discussions in Chicago. Commissioner Rob Manfred previously said the industry lost more than $ 3 billion in 2020 when attendance was virtually zero.

“The industry has been absolutely wiped out by the pandemic,” Kennedy said. “Our main source of income comes from the gate, which affects sponsorship, which affects ticketing, it affects everything. The industry has recovered and there is a feeling that we are in a really, very strong position to recover, but we are not there yet.

“It will take us some time to get back to pre-COVID levels, especially because we are still on COVID. “

As more entertainment consumers (i.e. baseball fans) cut their cables and turn to digital streaming options, MLB finds itself with a concern on the regional sports networks front. .

Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation’s Diamond Sports RSN business includes 14 MLB markets, in addition to the NBA and NHL markets. These RSNs, which represent a substantial portion of MLB’s revenue, carry significant debt worth more than their market capitalization, which will make servicing that debt a tall order. Here in New England there is no local impact, with the Red Sox and Bruins on NESN, the Celtics with NBC Sports Boston and the Patriots, like all NFL teams, aired on offers from. national networks.

“There are challenges in the industry, but I think the baseball product is such a strong product that it lasts six months a year,” Werner said. “I have seen statistics that say that 50% of people who subscribe to cable do so for the love of the sport.

“We’ll just have to sort it out. The customer will find a way to watch their sporting events. It’s up to distributors and content owners to find a way to get it to them as smoothly as possible.

Werner pointed to the decline in cable viewers, citing his own son as someone “who wants to get sports content but doesn’t want to pay $ 100 a month for a package. We have to find these people and find a product that they are willing to pay for. It’s up to the teams to find a local solution with the help of the MLB. We are not there yet.

Kennedy said: “Here locally we are in a very strong position with NESN,” but the Red Sox, as well as each team, will have to find creative solutions.

“You saw how powerful MLB TV is; they did an amazing job, ”Kennedy said. “We are therefore thinking about the means, locally, of potentially achieving this. We haven’t come to any conclusions, but we know we need to be available to Red Sox fans anytime, anywhere.

Michael Silverman can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.