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Deadspin Releases Leaked Financial Reports for the 2007, 2008 Tampa Bay Rays

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To view the full reports, check out the Deadspin article here. For analysis of the reports, I recommend Maury Brown's work over at Business of Baseball:

The documents that detail 2007 and 2008 for the Pirates, Mariners, Rays, Pirates and 2008, 2009 for the Marlins and Angels are, simply by volume, the largest collection of sensitive financial documents that have ever been released to the public during the Selig tenure; maybe ever.

And now for some of the juicy bits of the reports. According to Maury's analysis...

  • The Rays turned a net profit in both 2007 and 2008 - $11M in 2007 and $4M in 2008.
  • The Rays received $35-39M in revenue sharing each year.
  • Postseason revenue really helped the Rays in 2008, bringing in $17.6M.
  • Television and radio revenues brought the Rays around $13M each season. I wonder if the switch the Sun Sports has changed those numbers the last few years.
  • With their low attendance, the Rays pulled in $3.4M in concessions in 2007. That number increased dramatically to $9.5M in 2008.
  • The Rays spend heavily on player development, allocating around $20M each year for scouting, player development, and the running of their minor league teams.
Maury's analysis provides a bit more context for these numbers, showing how the Rays rate in comparison with the other leaked reports (Marlins, Mariners, and Pirates). I find it interesting that the Rays' profit decreased so significantly between 2007 and 2008; as the Rays have increased their major league payroll, it appears to have cut heavily into their bottom line. Their payroll increased from $24M to $43M from 2007 to 2008, and it then increased $63M in 2009 and $73M in 2010.

Obviously without all the other pieces to the puzzle for the last two season, it's tough to tell if the Rays are still turning a profit or not, but these numbers actually lead me to believe Matt Silverman when he says the club is overextended this season. If the Rays only turned a $4M profit when their payroll was $43M, what sort of profit can they expect to make with a $73M payroll? Attendance has remained relatively unchanged, TV/radio rates is probably unchanged (locked in to long-term contracts), and I doubt they're getting even more money from revenue sharing. They're probably making more money off of merchandise, but is that enough to make up an extra $30M in expenses? The Rays are likely going to end up in the red this season.

If these numbers are in fact correct, it appears the Rays can only make a profit if they keep their major-league payroll under $45-50M and/or make the playoffs. That's not a very stable long-term financial plan for a franchise, which in my mind puts further fuel on fire for the Rays to get a new stadium.

Thought-provoking figures, to say the least.

Update: Rays have no comment on the articles at the moment.