From a financial perspective, 2018 was reportedly a very good year for MLB.
A report from Maury Brown of Forbes noted that Major League Baseball produced record gross revenues during 2018.
“The bottom line for Major League Baseball continued to be strong in 2018, while seeing a slowing of growth compared to years prior,” Brown reported. “For the 16th consecutive year, MLB saw record gross revenues. For 2018, baseball-related revenues were $10.3 billion, according to industry sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.”
This is certainly welcome news to anyone in MLB’s front office. And in some respects, it’s surprisingly good news.
Attendance was down throughout MLB in 2018, something that commissioner Rob Manfred spoke about in June.
Manfred was also concerned about declining ratings in the World Series, even though it matched up the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers — two big market teams with huge fanbases.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that, despite all of that, Brown expects MLB’s revenues to continue to rise. In fact, he even sees the slowing growth being only a temporary trend.
“While the growth factor slowed in 2018, don’t expect that to continue heading into the 2019 season. More than one lucrative sponsorship deal is on the horizon, as is new revenues from the streaming media rights deal with DAZN. In 2022, the new extension reached with FOX will kick in that totals $5.1 billion and runs through 2028. Talks to determine whether ESPN and TBS continue to carry MLB nationally are ongoing and could likely kick in then, as well.”
MLB should absolutely do a lot more to expand its audience. But the need to slam on the panic button isn’t quite there, either. MLB’s revenues have gone up every year for nearly two full decades. Better yet, there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon.