The Braves’ revenue increased and their player payroll declined in the first half of this year, compared to the same period a year ago, according to a financial filing this week by team owner Liberty Media.
Liberty attributed the revenue increase to “greater attendance and a slightly higher price per ticket” and attributed the decrease in player compensation to “the movement of certain players in the off-season and those costs being recognized in the fourth quarter of 2011.”
The latter was an obvious reference to the trade of pitcher Derek Lowe to Cleveland. As part of the October deal, the Braves paid the Indians $10 million, enough to cover 2/3 of Lowe’s guaranteed 2012 salary.
The Braves’ 2012 revenue through June 30 was $102 million, compared to $95 million at the same point last year, according to Liberty’s filing. Liberty reported that the team had adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization of $5 million through June 30, compared to a loss of $8 million at the same point last year – a favorable swing of $13 million.
“The three and six months ended June 30, 2012, showed improved results in all aspects as compared to the corresponding prior year periods” for the Braves, the report stated.
The filing also disclosed the amount of money the Braves currently have committed to players and coaches in guaranteed long-term contracts beyond this season: $20 million in 2013, $13 million in 2014, $13 million in 2015 and $1 million thereafter.
The Braves are one of the few U.S. pro sports franchises owned by a publicly traded company. Liberty Media, controlled by billionaire John Malone, has owned the Braves since 2007.
The Colorado-based conglomerate also owns the Starz premium cable channels and large stakes in satellite radio company Sirius XM, bookseller Barnes & Noble and live entertainment/e-commerce company Live Nation, among other businesses. Liberty said this week that it plans to spin off Starz into a separate company.