So You Say There's A Recession…Don't Tell Baseball That

They say that funeral homes are the only industries that are truly recession proof.

Baseball, however, is making a good case of why Bud Selig has more in common with your local undertaker (other than, you know, just looking like him).

According to numbers provided to our pal Maury Brown at Biz of Baseball, Major League Baseball brought in a record $6.6 billion in gross revenue during the 2009 season. That amount was a 1.5 percent increase over the previous high of $6.5 billion in ’08 and was produced despite a 6.58 percent decrease in total attendance from the previous year. Maury is also reporting that $433 million in revenue sharing money will be sent from the big-market behemoths to the teams crying poor in smaller markets.

Large or small market, this owning a baseball team business sounds like a pretty swell business to be in. Rake in plenty of cash during a down economy, all while turning your pockets inside out when agents, players and fans wonder why you’re not spending more in the offseason.

Then, when the news breaks that you’re actually printing money in denominations much larger than what you local schmoe ever sees you spin the news as evidence that baseball’s never been more popular. (Without, of course, mentioning that the cost of taking a family to one game is higher than it’s ever been.)

Look, I don’t begrudge owners in making a good old American dollar off the good old American game. They’ve opened up new avenues of revenue and deserve the windfall.

All I’m saying is that you should keep this post in mind next time you hear an owner cut budgets or say he can’t afford to keep a homegrown star. The Yankees and Red Sox aren’t the only teams making money when it comes rolling in like this. These “small market teams” are turning a tidy profit AND saddling up the revenue sharing troth.


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