Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



Pirates owner Bob Nutting and his minions keep telling us about the reality of small-market baseball and MLB economics.

Here’s some reality Nutting would prefer you not notice.

The Pirates franchise was worth $274m when Nutting assumed control in 2007. It’s now worth $1.2b. That's a "b," not an "m." ONE-POINT-TWO BILLION DOLLARS.

Nutting isn’t just eking out a slim profit. He’s wallowing in money.

Sports teams don’t have to make money. It’s not a legal requirement.

Lots of rich people buy sports teams because they want to win. They spend over budget and lose money. But they’re still wealthy and, invariably, sell the team for a higher price than they paid for it.

A sports team owner is allowed to lose money.

A sports team owner is also allowed to make a little money, as opposed to accruing hundreds of millions playing in a stadium that public funds paid for.

MLB needs a salary floor.

It has the softest of caps, with the $197m luxury tax threshold. (Only four teams went over last year’s figure of $195m.)

But MLB needs a salary floor: A minimum that each team has to spend on payroll, so franchises can’t just pocket revenue-sharing and the $50m payday from the tech sale.

Lots of MLB teams aren’t even trying to win. They want to be the Washington Generals instead. Roll over, lose and get paid.

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