The real reason the Rockies are terrible and how it affects the Nuggets and Avs
Bridich’s departure is nice, but ...
Congratulations to the Colorado Rockies for General Manager Jeff Bridich’s much overdue departure on Monday.
Yes, the guy was brain dead with regard to the concept of making acquisitions that actually improved the team. This year’s Nolan Arenado trade/dump to St. Louis was just the latest crime against baseball.
As a side note, it remains one of my life goals for my employer to pay me $50 million to go elsewhere. If the publisher or editor is reading this, $50 million and you’re rid of me — it’s that simple — though I probably would take a lot less. Just planting the seed.
That the Rockies had to pay $50 million to get the Cardinals to take a generational talent like Arenado, in addition to acquiring what seems like not much in return in prospects was disgraceful for an alleged Major League Baseball team. Rockies fans have every right to disavow their team and curse the existence of the Monfort family.
While the image of Bridich being exiled to live out his days somewhere in a cave in Nebraska is pleasing, Bridich or his general incompetence was not the problem.
The Rockies have television-revenue issues. This is what is preventing Colorado baseball from competing in the NL West, much less for a World Series title.
Baseball is different than other sports in that its national TV deals, be they with Fox, ESPN or TBS, yes, provide terrific revenue to all 30 member clubs, but are not the life blood of revenue.
The make-or-break revenue in baseball, unlike particularly the NFL, is local TV rights. Here is the revenue from local TV that each team in the NL West takes in annually.
- Dodgers: $334 million.
- Giants: $200 million.
- Diamondbacks: $75 million.
- Padres: $70 million.
- Rockies: $20 million (through 2019).
In a related development, those yearly revenues from local television mirror the current NL West standings. This is not a coincidence.
The figure for the Giants is an estimate as the orange and black own NBC Sports Sports Bay Area, the station which broadcasts locally, so San Francisco does not disclose how much it gets from its affiliate. Regardless, the San Francisco Giants are not a small-market club like the Rockies. All the other numbers are from Forbes.
As for the Rockies, well, when you’re $50 million short of your nearest competition in revenue and somewhere in the neighborhood $275 million short of the best organization in baseball, the godless Los Angeles Dodgers, which happen to be in your division, you’re in a hole from the start.
From 2010-2020, the Rockies received $20 million for their local TV rights. The team extended the deal for an unspecified number of years and amount of money starting in 2021.Owner Dick Monfort has already been quoted as saying, “It’s not as lucrative as I wanted it to be.”
Even if the Rockies doubled their annual revenue to $40 million, that doesn’t do squat against the rest of NL West. This is why the Rockies can’t keep their talent like Arenado, Troy Tulowitzki and D.J. LeMahieu. How would have the Rockies have prevented LeMahieu from walking when the Yankees take in about $500 million in local TV, while the Rockies were getting $20 million?
And, yes, I hear you, Rockies fans. Despite these financial constraints, the GM should still get more for Arenado than sending $50 million to St. Louis and receiving used baseball equipment for him. Yet the fact remains that the Rockies will likely never compete in the NL West on a regular basis because they just don’t have the money.
Should the Monfort family sell? Absolutely. He’s not going to, though. The Rockies don’t make money like the Dodgers or Giants, but they still make money and the longer Monfort holds onto the team, the more the Colorado Rockies will be worth. (The team may be bad, but there are only 30 MLB franchises.)
The Nuggets and Avs
And having watched the Colorado Rockies muddle around in the cellar because of a bad local TV deal, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche are playing hardball. Officially, the legal dispute is between the Altitude Network and Comcast, but the net result is that the two teams aren’t on local TV for a bunch of local viewers.
Yes, it hacks me off that I can’t watch the Nuggets or Avs and they’re not my teams. I would be beside myself if I couldn’t watch the Giants or Niners on a regular basis, so, invoking my inner Clinton, “I feel your pain.”
But as much as you want the Nuggets or Avs to return immediately to your set, you’re rooting for these two teams to get as much money as possible directly from Comcast. As a fan you should be thinking the Nuggets and Avs need the money they’re asking from Comcast/whatever-television-provider to stay competitive with their leagues and their respective divisions.
The Nuggets and Avalanche don’t want to become the Rockies and you don’t want them to do so as well.