More from Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg, on a TV network and a hurricane
Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg was still in an admittedly "ornery" mood when we talked before Thursday's game, the disappointment of the team letting a playoff berth slip away still bothering him.
Given that, and the fact that the Rays uncharacteristically were buyers leading up to the trade deadline, adding about $7-million to their payroll, made it unsurprising, and even expected, that he said they go into next season likely to cut the payroll, which ended up at around $80-million. He often says that at the end of one season, but I didn't get the sense he was considering a drastic reduction.
Most of what he said was in today's Tampa Bay Times, but is some more of our Q-and-A, with his answer on the TV deal particularly interesting, floating the idea of starting their own network:
What is the status of a new TV contract?
If it'll even be a contract - we might end up starting a network at some point. When the time comes and we can negotiate a TV contract there will be a lot of parties to talk to. .. Unfortunately it's not the environment for that given what's gone on with cord-cutting and the value of cable, so I don't expect it or anticipate it to be nirvana. Ideally when and if something gets done it could move the needle. By the same token it might end up being less than where we are now. It's way down the road (and he won't say when).
What about the offense going so quiet?
It happens. It happens for a week, it happens for 10 days. We saw last year it happened for a month. So we weren't inured to it. But to see it happen again when you had it in your grasp, there really is a multiplier effect of disappointment.
How will the market impact your off-season and where the payroll ends up?
We try to react what the market is going to bear. Last off-season we were fortunate we needed a first baseman back at a time when first basemen weren't at a premium and we hit beautifully with Logan (Morrison). We added a shortstop (Adeiny Hechavarria) who has been just enormously helpful for us. You never know what is goign to available and why. Last year we picked up (Colby) Rasmus and maybe things would've been different if he had stuck it out, if (Kevin) Kiermaier stayed (healthy). If, if, if.
But you're not going into the off-season thinking this is the year to cut back to like $30-million?
No. It could always happen; I don't anticipate it happening.
How much did the hurricane rescheduling and fallout impact the team financially as you had to move three Yankees game to New York and then had lesser than expected crows for the Red Sox and Cubs games?
Those eight games, while they were 10 percent of our schedule, probably made up 20-25 percent of our revenue.
Did you get revenue from the three games moved to Citi Field?
We'll get revenue but the games are very expensive to put on, and they were attended, but not like 40,000, 50,000 people showing up, it was a $25 set price. And we had to house and transport people for four extra days on the road in New York. And a lot of other expense like overtime (for staff at the Trop) and buttoning the place up and some damage to the stadium. All in all, it was a minus-minus-minus. However, having said that, we're incredibly fortunate for what could have been.