Before I start I would just like to clarify a few things.
1. I'm mainly making this to address a couple of trolls who know nothing of economics.
2. The name of the fanpost isn't me saying Liberty Media are the best owners or even great. I needed a name for the FP and thought, what better than a Patrick Henry quote?
3. I am in no way associated with Liberty Media. I know some morons think the word "Liberty" can only mean a media conglomerate, but it has nothing to do with that. Some of you wastes of flesh are convinced that I am part of Liberty Media and are probably convinced that we didn't really land on the moon and reptilian shapeshifters from space rule the world. My name is a reference to the political philosophy I subscribe to but I will not go into detail as I know politics is frowned upon here and I wouldn't want to alienate anybody by sharing my beliefs.
4. This is my first and likely last fanpost so it may not be that good.
This time of year is when most fanbases with low payrolls complain about their favorite team's owners because they aren't signing Hamilton or Bourn. While many are very legitimate (Marlins, Pirates) many are illegitimate (Giants, Cardinals). But one of the most irrational if not the most irrational, is the criticism of the Braves ownership Liberty Media. I will take this time to address the more common criticisms of our current ownership.
"What is Liberty Media and why don't they spend more damn money on the Braves?"
Liberty Media is a media conglomerate with a revenue of 3 billion dollars in 2011 according to CNN money. While they are worth much more than that, that should give you an idea of their annual income. They have partial or complete ownership of Overture Films, AOL, Viacom, Barnes and Noble and of course our beloved Atlanta Braves among many other interests.
While they have a large amount of money, that doesn't mean they should spend it on the Braves. While I would love for them to do that, I understand that baseball is a business and they can't invest money they won't see again in the Braves because that's just not good business. Just because they have the money, doesn't mean the Braves have money.
A boxboy working at Wal-Mart (a store I have many problems with), does not possess or have access to the billions of dollars Wal-Mart is worth. The boxboy does not make the company a lot of money and is easily replaceable, so he doesn't make as much as someone with more profitable and rare skills. The Braves are very much the same. It just wouldn't make sense for Liberty to give the Braves more money than they are worth.
"Alright, but isn't it wrong that they make money on the Braves every year without investing more in the team?"
It would be wrong if that were the case. Liberty Media grants the Braves a payroll based on the revenue of the team the year prior.
"If they don't make any money, what is the point of them owning the team? Just to screw with us?"
Liberty Media's stated goal from the start (along with the tax breaks they received the first few years of ownership) was to raise the value of the team and cash in once they felt the time was right. The team right now isn't worth very much due to the middle of the pack attendance, probably the worst T.V. deal in baseball, a pretty lackluster stadium and dwindling brand recognition among other things.
"Okay, they aren't so bad but couldn't we get an owner that is willing to spend on the Braves and not care about losing money?"
Yes, we could. But it is more likely we would do a lot worse. Don't get me wrong, I would choose Mark Cuban over Liberty any day of the week but owners like him are very rare. That is why guys like George Steinbrenner and Ted Turner were so loved by their team's fans and hated by others. They were wealthy owners that truly wanted their teams to be successful, no matter the cost. But there's a reason they are so rare.
For a person to amass billions of dollars, they have to be very smart and see everything as a business and the only success as being profit. Most owners wouldn't just dump money into a team because it contradicts how they became so wealthy to begin with. Wasting money is just not in their nature.
If we were to be sold right now, it is more likely we would get an owner much worse than Liberty. Most of these owners would step in, see the lacking attendance and lack of revenue from T.V. deals. While they are making shit on the Braves current T.V. situation, they would see teams like the Angels and Dodgers cashing in. This would likely make them just take a big chunk out of the team's revenue so they feel like they are at least making a slight profit.
"But isn't it bad that our owners are just going to abandon us when they want to cash in?"
Maybe but probably not. By that time the Braves should be at the end or near the end of their current T.V. deal. Even though by that time this current big money for T.V. dealsbubble may burst, the team will still be worth a lot more. The cost of the team at that point would more than likely attract an owner that wants to see the team win and will have the money from the new T.V. deal to make it happen.
The point is, Liberty has made an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars, just to sit on it. The majority of people wouldn't invest hundreds of millions of dollars in something and not see any profit from it in years. For now, the Braves will be able to stay competitive through the years without a massive payroll while we wait out the T.V. contract under Liberty.
And that's where the real problem lies. If you want to blame anyone for the low payroll, blame Time Warner for signing a deal in which they would see the short-term benefits before cashing out leaving the burden with someone else.
I know it's not the prettiest or well written FanPost but I needed to make it real quick. Any debates you want to have about current ownership, I'm glad to address your concerns in the comments. (Unless you are the two trolls I mentioned)
Thanks for reading.
Are Liberty Media bad owners?
Yes (149 votes)
No (259 votes)
408 total votes