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View Full Version : What MLB Teams are "big market", "small market", etc.


Hitmen77
01-14-2011, 12:14 PM
Since there's always a lot of debate about how certain teams can just throw money at players and other teams are constantly in sell mode once players hit FA, I was wondering how people see MLB teams being categorized.

When I say "big market", it's not solely the population of that metro area (though that is a big factor). Here's a stab at how I see the teams sorting out:

Super Rich:
(teams that have seemingly endless streams of revenue that most other teams can't match. Money is easily poured into all aspects of the organization: scouting, farm system, payroll)
Yankees & Red Sox

Big Market Teams:
(teams have a lot of payroll flexibility, but can't simply overcome bad contracts, trades, etc.)
-Mets (big payroll, bad decisions)
-Cubs (big payroll, bad decisions)
-Dodgers (they could move up to NYY/Bos territory if they ever got their act together)
-Tigers (market isn't to huge anymore, but Ilitch pumps big market money into payroll)
-Angels
-Phillies (Philly is a fairly big market and recent team success makes them a big draw)

Borderline big market teams:
-White Sox. (big bump in payroll for '11, they're usually a little below the other big market teams in spending)
-Giants (AT&T Park and now WS championship have made this a successful franchise)
-Texas (Dallas market is growing and Rangers moving up in payroll)
-Atlanta (maybe they should be "medium market" instead. They're successful, but years on TBS cable didn't translate to a national following like the Cubs have)

Medium market:
-St. Louis (great winning history and fan support, but smaller market will keep them from spending like the big markets)
-Colorado
-Arizona
-Seattle
-Houston
-Minnesota (Target Field will help them boost payroll, no longer an automatic to lose all good players to FA)
-Toronto (attendance woes and can't gain traction in AL East)
-Baltimore (squandered the Camden "aura" with years of ineptitude)
-Washington (fairly big TV market, we'll see if they can start winning and filling seats)
-San Diego (SD is a fairly large market, but the team is run like they're in a small market)

Small Market:
- KC (years of bad teams, no hope of keeping any good players at FA, at best can hope for fleeting run at success)
- Pittsburgh (years of bad teams, no hope of keeping any good players at FA, at best can hope for fleeting run at success)
- Tampa Bay (market simply can't support a team. Great success in recent years, but FA will send them back to constant cellar dwellars)
- Milwaukee (great example of how to succeed in a small market, however only 1 playoff appearance in 25 years and still have to give up good players upon FA despite good attendance)
- Cincinnati (good young team now, maybe could bump up to medium market, but still won't be able to hold on to good players)
- Cleveland (can't keep any good players upon FA, successful days seem to be over and attendance has plummeted)
- Oakland (located in a large metro area but stuck with unpopular ballpark and bad attendance. Good at developing talent, but they leave via FA or trades)
- Florida (Loria runs them like a small market team, we'll see what happens when they move to the new ballpark)

russ99
01-14-2011, 03:40 PM
The Sox are a big market team. No need to find an excuse to put them lower than the Cubs.

bigsoxfan420
01-14-2011, 03:41 PM
The Sox are a big market team. No need to find an excuse to put them lower than the Cubs.

Agreed, Sox are definitely a big market team.

Hitmen77
01-14-2011, 03:58 PM
The Sox are a big market team. No need to find an excuse to put them lower than the Cubs.

I'm not sure what this even means. If they're in the exact same spot as the Cubs, fine. I wasn't making "any excuses" for them.

Fenway
01-14-2011, 03:59 PM
Philly has been hampered by a small regional TV footprint - 30 miles to the north becomes NY, and Baltimore kicks in at the Delaware border. Even Scranton they share with the NY teams.

However Citizens Bank Park gave them new life over the Vet.

Toronto (population 5,113,149) should be big market but something is wrong there.

Houston if owner sells could become a big player.
White Sox are now big market.

But I would put the Yankees in their own catagory - yes Boston spends but they are a lot closer to the other big market teams. Yankees don't have a budget.

Hitmen77
01-14-2011, 04:10 PM
Philly has been hampered by a small regional TV footprint - 30 miles to the north becomes NY, and Baltimore kicks in at the Delaware border. Even Scranton they share with the NY teams.

However Citizens Bank Park gave them new life over the Vet.

Toronto (population 5,113,149) should be big market but something is wrong there.

Houston if owner sells could become a big player.
White Sox are now big market.

But I would put the Yankees in their own catagory - yes Boston spends but they are a lot closer to the other big market teams. Yankees don't have a budget.

You have a good point here. I also wonder if the Red Sox would be even closer to the other big market clubs if they weren't in the AL East trying to keep up with the Yankees.

The teams I put on the "borderline big market" list I see as working their way up to big market. They weren't operating like a big market team not too long ago, but they are now or will be soon.

Fenway
01-14-2011, 04:31 PM
You have a good point here. I also wonder if the Red Sox would be even closer to the other big market clubs if they weren't in the AL East trying to keep up with the Yankees.

The teams I put on the "borderline big market" list I see as working their way up to big market. They weren't operating like a big market team not too long ago, but they are now or will be soon.

The Rangers just got a 3 BILLION dollar TV deal - they now officially in with the big boys.

Boston usually spends up to the tax limit and have gone over a couple of times but they try to avoid it. Ticket prices are just insane, the tickets my family has had were $16 in 1996 and now they are $85 :o:

They are spending a lot of money this year to redo the concession areas to get more point of sale locations. But it is still tame compared to Yankee Stadium III.

Fenway renovations 2011
http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/photogallery/year_2011/month_01/day_05/cf16394258.html

Daver
01-14-2011, 04:35 PM
The Rangers just got a 3 BILLION dollar TV deal - they now officially in with the big boys.

Boston usually spends up to the tax limit and have gone over a couple of times but they try to avoid it. Ticket prices are just insane, the tickets my family has had were $16 in 1996 and now they are $85 :o:

They are spending a lot of money this year to redo the concession areas to get more point of sale locations. But it is still tame compared to Yankee Stadium III.

Fenway renovations 2011
http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/photogallery/year_2011/month_01/day_05/cf16394258.html

When are they going to give up on polishing that turd?

Fenway
01-14-2011, 04:40 PM
When are they going to give up on polishing that turd?

Apparently until the day a giant sinkhole appears and the park sinks into the former Back Bay.

dwitt76
01-14-2011, 05:00 PM
Watching PTI and they said the Yankees bulpen salary is more than the entire tampa bay roster. The Yankee's are in their own league

DSpivack
01-15-2011, 03:46 AM
Watching PTI and they said the Yankees bulpen salary is more than the entire tampa bay roster. The Yankee's are in their own league

And yet they still have a very mediocre pitching staff. I think lots of New Yorkers will be very disappointed this summer.

Hitmen77
01-15-2011, 09:06 PM
Philly has been hampered by a small regional TV footprint - 30 miles to the north becomes NY, and Baltimore kicks in at the Delaware border. Even Scranton they share with the NY teams.

However Citizens Bank Park gave them new life over the Vet.

Toronto (population 5,113,149) should be big market but something is wrong there.

Houston if owner sells could become a big player.
White Sox are now big market.

But I would put the Yankees in their own catagory - yes Boston spends but they are a lot closer to the other big market teams. Yankees don't have a budget.

That's an important thing to consider in MLB: It's not just attendance numbers, TV market size and local TV revenue are a big source of revenue.

What is the problem in Toronto? Is it that the multi-purpose, artificial turf SkyDome became dated just a few years after it was built? They're also mired behind the big spenders in the AL East....they might have had more playoff hopes in recent years if they played in another division.

I thought Washington was a fairly large TV market. We'll see if the Nats can get their act together and if winning will translate into fan interest.

I don't get why San Diego is always in "trade good players away" mode. They're in a fairly large market and in one of the new downtown retro parks.

Baltimore used to be one of the big spenders, but they handed out stupid contracts and now attendance is way down at renowned Camden Yards as the O's have been bad for many years now. I forgot the link to it, but I saw an article the other day that said the Orioles have had 13 straight losing seasons....which is something they didn't even do when they were the St. Louis Browns!

It'll be interesting to see what happens with the Marlins after 2012 or the A's if they ever get a new ballpark in Northern California.

russ99
01-15-2011, 10:27 PM
I'm not sure what this even means. If they're in the exact same spot as the Cubs, fine. I wasn't making "any excuses" for them.

Sorry, didn't mean to make that personal by any means.

We are in the same market as the Cubs, and while they generally spend more than the Sox do, there's no reason to think the Cubs are at a higher level when determining which clubs are big-market.

doublem23
01-15-2011, 11:34 PM
We are in the same market as the Cubs, and while they generally spend more than the Sox do, there's no reason to think the Cubs are at a higher level when determining which clubs are big-market.

Yes they are. The Sox are sort of a big market team, I know we're stoked that they signed some guys this offseason but how many years have we seen them go the cheap route in the past? The Cubs may play in the same market, but they really are on a national level now. If the Sox are big market, then the Cubs are somewhere between that and wherever the Yankees and Red Sox are.

PKalltheway
01-16-2011, 12:39 AM
What is the problem in Toronto? Is it that the multi-purpose, artificial turf SkyDome became dated just a few years after it was built? They're also mired behind the big spenders in the AL East....they might have had more playoff hopes in recent years if they played in another division.

My best guess is that's the problem. They haven't been to the playoffs in 18 years, nor have they really come all that close in the time since. While their ballpark certainly doesn't help matters, it's really hard to generate fan interest when the team hasn't seen the postseason in nearly 20 years. Add that to the fact that they're always behind New York and Boston payroll-wise, and I'm sure there's a big sense of hopelessness with their fan base. I'm sure the majority of baseball teams would suffer from attendance problems if they missed the playoffs for 18 years in a row, too.

Also, the Jays have handed out big contracts in the past (Alex Rios, Vernon Wells), only to fail miserably. They've never really sucked enough to get really good draft picks like Tampa Bay, and they haven't been all that good, either. They seem like they're always stuck in gear, hovering around the 80-85 win mark every year.

I've taken a liking to the Jays in recent years, and I hope they can figure out a way to come out of their doldrums soon.

gobears1987
01-16-2011, 05:35 AM
The Sox are a big market team. No need to find an excuse to put them lower than the Cubs.

Yep, we are in the 3rd largest market in the country and our ownership is certainly running the ship like a big market team right now. The Dunn acquisition and keeping key FA's are the markers of a big market team. We're in it to win and not rebuilding.

Hitmen77
01-18-2011, 09:20 AM
Sorry, didn't mean to make that personal by any means.

We are in the same market as the Cubs, and while they generally spend more than the Sox do, there's no reason to think the Cubs are at a higher level when determining which clubs are big-market.

No problemo. :peace:

I think the Cubs have a greater revenue stream than the Sox, but they do have their limits too. Wrigley Field is a great draw, but they have a limited amount of luxury suites, no parking revenue, etc. As Fenway pointed out in another thread, the 2 Chicago teams get the same revenue from Comcast Sports Net.

I think the "watershed" moment that put the White Sox and Angels up there with the big boys is when each team won the World Series. Just being a certain-sized metro area alone doesn't determine whether teams are "big market". The A's play in a huge metro area and a huge TV market, but they are almost always "sellers" even though they are better than average at developing talent.

What's puzzling to me is why San Diego always seems to be unloading talent. It's not like San Diego is a small city and the team has at least has been competitive in their division in some recent seasons.

Fenway
01-18-2011, 09:27 AM
What's puzzling to me is why San Diego always seems to be unloading talent. It's not like San Diego is a small city and the team has at least has been competitive in their division in some recent seasons.

San Diego's TV market is 25th which is one of the smallest in MLB and is similar to Milwaukee in makeup.

to the north LA
to the south Mexico
to the east - desert
to the west -ocean

Milwaukee south Chicago
east lake
west Madison and trees
north Green Bay and trees



Baltimore
San Diego
Indianpolis
Hartford & New Haven
Charlotte

khan
01-18-2011, 10:57 AM
Yep, we are in the 3rd largest market in the country and our ownership is certainly running the ship like a big market team right now. The Dunn acquisition and keeping key FA's are the markers of a big market team. We're in it to win and not rebuilding.

Everyone points to KW's work in FA this offseason, but then during the draft, the SOX revert to "small market" behavior.

If memory serves, the SOX have been among the lowest spenders in terms of draftee bonuses in recent years. Who knows if they even spend enough money in scouting, on the minor league teams, or in international FA, either.


I suppose my view is that it is too simplistic to merely point at the FA acquisitions/retentions and declare the SOX a "big market" organization, IMO. When [IF] they ever decide to behave like big boys in terms of scouting and drafting TOGETHER with the big FA signings, then we can declare them a "big market" organization. They're not entirely there yet, IMO.

kaufsox
01-18-2011, 08:32 PM
Yes they are. The Sox are sort of a big market team, I know we're stoked that they signed some guys this offseason but how many years have we seen them go the cheap route in the past? The Cubs may play in the same market, but they really are on a national level now. If the Sox are big market, then the Cubs are somewhere between that and wherever the Yankees and Red Sox are.

Not meaning to get semantic about this, but in this case I think it works. The Sox and Cubs are both big market, but I, instead of the orginally designation by th OP (nice post BTW!) of Big Market and Borderline Big Market would offer National Big Market (Cubs and NYY) and Big Market or Local Big Market (Sox and Mets.)

Fenway
01-19-2011, 10:47 AM
Boston payroll settles around 163 M

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2011/01/red_sox_payroll.html

Red Sox budget is that payroll should be covered by ticket sales.

In 2010 their average ticket price was $ 52.32 and based on 3,000,000 tickets sold you get $156,960,000

But the team says 21% is premium seats at an average of $100.85 and that projects to $61 million alone.

White Sox say 9% of the park is premium at $94.24 average.

http://teammarketing.com.ismmedia.com/ISM3/std-content/repos/Top/News/2010_mlb_fci.pdf

Who knows how much the Red Sox bring in from other sources but they are not hurting.

We have a rough idea on NESN. This year they are getting $ 2.97 from 4,000,000 subscribers in 5 and one half states. Red Sox own 80% of NESN, Bruins the other 20% so that is roughly $114,048,000. (and this is before you include advertising revenue on the channel)

That still is chicken feed to what YES generates in ALL of New York State, Connecticut, 70 percent of New Jersey and Northeast Pennsylvania.

Fenway
01-19-2011, 08:19 PM
There is one great unknown....

What happens if the FCC finally allows al-la-carte cable pricing like Canada?

The Golden Goose will be cooked bigtime

Just a refresher

This is Montreal Cable

http://www.videotron.com/service/tv/illico-digital

Fenway
01-20-2011, 12:10 PM
Here is a graphic representation on how baseball payrolls have exploded - with cable television $$$ being the golden goose

In 1991 OAKLAND #1 $39,191,167 White Sox #21 $18,092,979
http://www.baseballchronology.com/Baseball/Years/1991/Payroll.asp

In 1996 Yankees #1 at $61,511,870 White Sox #5 $44,827,833
http://www.baseballchronology.com/Baseball/Years/1996/Payroll.asp

In 2001 Yankees #1 $109,791,893 White Sox #16 $62,363,000
http://www.baseballchronology.com/Baseball/Years/2001/Payroll.asp

In 2006 Yankees #1 $194,663,079 White Sox #4 $102,750,667
http://www.baseballchronology.com/Baseball/Years/2006/Payroll.asp

khan
01-20-2011, 01:12 PM
There is one great unknown....

What happens if the FCC finally allows al-la-carte cable pricing like Canada?

The Golden Goose will be cooked bigtime

Just a refresher

This is Montreal Cable

http://www.videotron.com/service/tv/illico-digital
Great point.

As a consumer, I'd love this.

[Full disclosure: I gave up cable years ago when I recognized that paying ~$70/month was a waste, given that I work a lot of hours and am never home to use it.]

If a la carte pricing came about, I'd probable re-subscribe and get a DVR as well. Under current conditions, I HATE the idea that I "have to" get any ESPN channel, or pay for any of the other dozens of channels that I would never use.


Having said that, a la carte pricing will have STAUCH opponents all across the media world, with huge piles of money being spent to prevent it. [Not meaning to be political.] As such, I'd highly doubt that a la carte will ever come to cable TV.

Hitmen77
01-20-2011, 01:36 PM
Not meaning to get semantic about this, but in this case I think it works. The Sox and Cubs are both big market, but I, instead of the orginally designation by th OP (nice post BTW!) of Big Market and Borderline Big Market would offer National Big Market (Cubs and NYY) and Big Market or Local Big Market (Sox and Mets.)

If we're considering which teams have big "national" markets, what I find interesting is that it doesn't seem like the Braves really built much of a national following despite all those years of being televised nationwide on TBS cable. It's not like the Braves were lousy during that time either. It' included their great run of 5 pennants in the 1990s.

Here is a graphic representation on how baseball payrolls have exploded - with cable television $$$ being the golden goose

In 1991 OAKLAND #1 $39,191,167 White Sox #21 $18,092,979
http://www.baseballchronology.com/Baseball/Years/1991/Payroll.asp

In 1996 Yankees #1 at $61,511,870 White Sox #5 $44,827,833
http://www.baseballchronology.com/Baseball/Years/1996/Payroll.asp

In 2001 Yankees #1 $109,791,893 White Sox #16 $62,363,000
http://www.baseballchronology.com/Baseball/Years/2001/Payroll.asp

In 2006 Yankees #1 $194,663,079 White Sox #4 $102,750,667
http://www.baseballchronology.com/Baseball/Years/2006/Payroll.asp

While that's the payroll #s, it would be interesting to see what each team brings in every year in local TV revenue. The Yankees must just blow everyone out of the water.

That's one of MLB's big problems. Having big attendance is not enough. Milwaukee has had great attendance in recent years (and they've had decent teams too), but in the end 35,000 a night in Milwaukee isn't enough for them to compete with all the revenue the big market teams are raking in. Cleveland had 455 straight sellouts, but still had to see All-Stars leave when they hit free agency. Even before the bottom dropped out of their attendance, the free agent clock was eventually catching up with them.

Fenway
01-20-2011, 02:12 PM
If we're considering which teams have big "national" markets, what I find interesting is that it doesn't seem like the Braves really built much of a national following despite all those years of being televised nationwide on TBS cable. It's not like the Braves were lousy during that time either. It' included their great run of 5 pennants in the 1990s.



While that's the payroll #s, it would be interesting to see what each team brings in every year in local TV revenue. The Yankees must just blow everyone out of the water.

That's one of MLB's big problems. Having big attendance is not enough. Milwaukee has had great attendance in recent years (and they've had decent teams too), but in the end 35,000 a night in Milwaukee isn't enough for them to compete with all the revenue the big market teams are raking in. Cleveland had 455 straight sellouts, but still had to see All-Stars leave when they hit free agency. Even before the bottom dropped out of their attendance, the free agent clock was eventually catching up with them.

This article from a year ago gives a hint at just how much cable gold is out there

http://www.bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4132:lwib-the-compitition-for-local-tv-rights-in-mlb-plus-tidbits&catid=67:pete-toms&Itemid=155

Chicago at least for now has one cable station for everyone but that will change. New York on the other hand has YES, SNY and MSG. (SNY was having trouble getting traction outside of NY City as the Mets don't travel well, but in a smart move they locked up UConn basketball for both men and women and got every cable operator in the state onboard.

This chart will show you at a glance who has the big TV markets, and who doesn't.

http://www.bizofbaseball.com/images/MLB_Blackout_Map1000x733.gif

Toronto right now has all of Canada and the only other team that can get in is the Red Sox in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland simply because those provinces always tilted towards New England and the Bruins are the team they follow in the NHL.

http://www.bizofbaseball.com/images/MLB_Blackout_Map1000x733.gif

soxfanreggie
01-22-2011, 10:30 AM
Watching PTI and they said the Yankees bulpen salary is more than the entire tampa bay roster. The Yankee's are in their own league

Heck, A-Rod made more in 2006 and 2008 than the entire Marlins' team. He made a few million less than them in 2007.

Hitmen77
01-26-2011, 09:36 AM
The talk about Pujols looking for a $300 million contract had me go back and look at how I ranked the 30 MLB teams in this thread.

The problem with MLB is that there are too many teams at the bottom that are just in "win with our farm products now before they leave via free agency" mode. It's not just Pittsburgh and Kansas City. It's something like 1/3 of the league stuck in the mode.