I am trying not to be accusatory. I have supported the new Rays ownership since it replaced the Naomoli era, and I agree with ownership that in order for Tampa to remain competitive in the future, a new stadium/location must be secured sooner rather than later.
However I am getting the feeling that to a large degree we are being duped by ownership and that profits are being pocketed rather than being used to improve the on field product. Ownership should profit from new revenue streams and an increased competitiveness compared to the Naomoli teams. They earned it. But are they pocketing all of the new revenue?
Prior to 2013, the Rays spent roughly $50 million to $75 million per year once the franchise became competitive. Forbes suggested more than once that the Rays were profitable at this level of payroll. This may or may not be true, but I have a hard time believing the team was losing its shirt with a payroll in the bottom quartile.
In 2013, the results of the new national TV deal added approximately $26 million in new revenue stream to each team. Yet the Rays kept their payroll at recent norms, settling in not much above $60 million.
In 2014, the new ESPN deal kicks in and it is approximated that each team will receive an additional $27 million in annual revenues. However the Rays (through Sternberg) have already made it clear that due to poor attendance figures, payroll may have to drop.
Drop? Our revenue stream will have grown by ~$53 million per year from 2012 to 2014, and payroll needs to fall? There is no way that disappointing gate receipts have caused us to lose the $53 million we netted from the national TV increases. By my estimate, payroll should be somewhere between $100 million and $130 million per season with these new revenue streams.
What am I missing. It doesn't add up for me.