It seems like Major League Baseball (or one of its subsidiaries) has been signing a new broadcasting deal almost on a daily basis this offseason. The latest and the one that drew perhaps the most attention was iN Demand and DirecTV fighting over the cable rights to MLB's "Extra Innings", their package for out-of-market games. That netted MLB $100M a year for seven seasons starting in 2009.
Under an agreement signed last summer, TBS will expand their coverage beyond the Braves to include the major-league playoffs as well as Sunday games during the season. This is part of a new seven-year, $3B agreement that also includes FOX and FOS Sports Net (FSN).
MLB.tv, baseball's broadband solution, also increased their base price from $79.95 to $89.95, which starts to get big when you realize that the service had 1.3 M subscribers in 2005 (the last published numbers).
It's no wonder we saw so many long-term, big-money contracts signed this offseason. Over the past decade starting position players have gotten older and aside from a minor speed bump in 2004-05, are making more and more money.
Witness this comparison between starting position players and players overall:
Avg Salary Starting Pos Player
Avg Age Starting Pos Player
So I put together the total revenue and payroll per season from 1960 through 2006. I also projected the values for each through 2010 based on the growth witnessed in the last five seasons. I think the projections for each are rather conservative especially since a number of the more recent broadcasting deals have been without terms announced. But I think it gets the point across.
Note that I expressed the payroll as a percentage of total revenue and revenue above total payroll. Note that as the last CBA took effect in 2003, revenues started to grow more quickly than payroll: