We've obtained financial statements for a number of baseball teams — containing perhaps some of the most closely guarded information in sports — and they offer a rare glimpse at how MLB franchises do brisk business in the modern era.
We'll have some analysis later, not to mention another set of statements. For now, take a look at the documents below, paying close attention to the teams' operating income, their revenue-sharing figures, the size of their TV deals, and the amortization of player contracts (a neat trick of accounting pioneered by Bill Veeck that allows an owner to turn his team into a lucrative tax shelter). If there is a thread running through all of these financial statements, it is the incredible ability of baseball teams — whether they're winners or losers, big market or small, "rich" or "poor" — to make their owners a fat pile of money.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Financial Statements, 2007 and 2008 [Download as PDF]
Pittsburgh Pirates: Quarterly Financial Statement, 2009 [Download as PDF]
Tampa Bay Rays: Financial Statements, 2007 and 2008 [Download as PDF]
Florida Marlins: Financial Statements, 2008 and 2009 [Download as PDF]
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Financial Statements, 2008 and 2009 [Download as PDF]
MLB CONFIDENTIAL: The Financial Documents Baseball Doesn't Want You To See
Part 1: Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Angels of Aneheim
Part 2: Seattle Mariners
Part 3: Texas Rangers