Major League Baseball and MLB Players Association took 99 days to reach a labor agreement. This delayed the season’s start by one week. Today, however, is Opening Day. The league has the potential to see record revenues thanks to a host of new businesses.
MLB should have 2022 more in line with 2019. It should be better. Although Covid-19 is still a concern, entertainment events are returning in large numbers. This will make baseball a significant beneficiary.
You’d be hard-pressed not to find the damage done by the lockout for nearly 100 days to the baseball business. The league found new revenue through streaming, broadcasting, sponsorship, and other agreements. This, combined with the ability of ballparks to return to total capacity, should increase gross revenues to $11 billion.
2019, when Major League Baseball’s gross revenues reached $10.7 billion, was the last time Major League Baseball reported its gross revenues. This is what has happened to push this number higher.
National Broadcast Deals with FOX, TBS, and ESPN
The three league’s national TV broadcast partners have renewed their agreements with MLB for 2022-2028. This will result in $12.24 billion over the lifetime of the deals with FOX and TBS. This is a 17% increase from $1.5 billion each year to $1.76 Billion.
Streaming Deals with Apple and NBC’s Peacock
The terms of the renewal were changed by the Worldwide Lead, who dropped their mid-week regular-season games in favor of Sunday night baseball. Two streaming deals were possible, which, although not as lucrative as a total ESPN renewal, still generate more revenue than the 17% for linear TV. According to Forbes colleague Michael Ozanian, the combined value of both is $115 million per year with a $55m rights fee and $30m worth of advertising for doubleheader games on Fridays at Apple and NBC’s Peacock.
New Or Renewed League Sponsors
Major League Baseball continues to innovate in the sponsorship space and grows its list of partners. Bank of America declined to renew its sponsorship, but a new partner was chosen. These are the new sponsors for 2022. Although financial terms aren’t available to all, the Change to Capital One is reported to be worth $125 Million over five years.
Capital One (replaces BofA).
Dairy Queen ( Official Treatment of MLB).
Mattress Firm ( Official Partner in Sleep Wellness)
Corona (Official Cerveza Of Major League Baseball)
Cue Health ( COVID Testing).
Candy Digital ( NFT collectibles).
The Total Will Meet or Exceed $11 Billion
CNBC reports that total sponsorship revenue increased from $1 billion in 2020, to $1.7 billion by 2021. MLB can still strike a helmet sticker deal for the 2022 playoffs. The league should experience a significant increase in gate revenue as many of the ballparks were subject to pandemic capacity limitations. ESPN will also be able to pick up additional playoff games after the league and MLBPA increase the number of playoff teams to 12. All of this, along with the increased media rights and the deals for each club, points to Major League Baseball exceeding $11 billion in gross revenue for 2022