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The Blind Side

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Update [2007-11-4 0:13:33 by R.J. Anderson]: Heh, about Michael Lewis, turns out it's not that Michael Lewis, my apologies, I should've done a bit more research than a simple glance at his archives before posting this. Obviously my bad, but it's still a very good read, despite my error.

The New York Times' Play Magazine has a piece in the New York Times that talks about revenue sharing. In it the author (not that) Michael Lewis actually focuses on our Rays, here's an excerpt:

The problem is that transfers are based on local revenues. Teams that receive money are encouraged to invest it in their payrolls. But if a team actually attracts fans by fielding a winning team, its revenue-sharing receipts will be reduced.

To create a more balanced playing field, revenue-sharing payments should be increased for teams that attract more fans. I have devised an approach for doing this based on a statistical analyses of teams' payrolls, winning percentages and attendance. It takes into account the size of the team's local population, to acknowledge that teams in places like New York and Chicago have greater financial incentives to invest in players than teams in places like Milwaukee and Kansas City do.

Here's how my formula would have affected the revenue-sharing payments to the Pittsburgh Pirates, which last year filled only 60 percent of its seats but received $25 million in revenue sharing. If the team could have increased its attendance rate to 70 percent, its payments would have grown to $29 million, and if attendance had gone up to 80 percent, the payments would have reached $33 million. My formula would have had even more significant consequences for the Devil Rays. Based on the team's 38-percent attendance rate, its revenue-sharing payments would have been reduced from $33 million to $13.5 million.

You may have to register to read it, but its worth it. Along those same lines the New York Times and its Play magazine is a great read and features some of the best sports writers around including Lewis, Will Carroll, Will Leitch, and so on, really an all-star team of sports writers without the "me" attitude of ESPN -- oh and it's free.