Braves’ team rev­enue, profit in­crease in lat­est quar­ter

Ledger-Enquirer - - Sports - BY TIM TUCKER At­lanta Jour­nal-Con­sti­tu­tion

The Braves’ re­turn to the top of the Na­tional League East paid off fi­nan­cially for the team with rev­enue and profit in­creas­ing in the most re­cently com­pleted quar­ter.

Team owner Lib­erty Me­dia dis­closed Thurs­day that the Braves’ rev­enue in­creased by $15 mil­lion, from $185 mil­lion to $200 mil­lion, in the July-Septem­ber quar­ter, com­pared to the same pe­riod a year ear­lier.

The Braves’ op­er­at­ing profit be­fore de­pre­ci­a­tion and amor­ti­za­tion grew by $24 mil­lion in the lat­est quar­ter, from $48 mil­lion to $ 72 mil­lion, com­pared to the same pe­riod in 2017, Lib­erty Me­dia said.

The new fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sures came as the Braves and other Ma­jor League Base­ball teams pre­pare to be­gin their off-sea­son shop­ping and spend­ing on the freeagent and trade mar­kets.

The re­sults con­tin­ued an up­ward trend since the Braves moved to SunTrust Park, a trend that has stirred much spec­u­la­tion about when, or whether, the team will sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease its player pay­roll to re­flect the surge in rev­enue.

Lib­erty Me­dia at­trib­uted the Braves’ rev­enue growth in the July-Septem­ber quar­ter to “in­creased ticket prices, higher at­ten­dance and in­creased con­ces­sions per turnstile” and to in­creased oper­a­tions at The Bat­tery At­lanta, the mixed-use devel­op­ment ad­ja­cent to the sta­dium.

Rev­enue has in­creased steadily since the move from Turner Field to SunTrust Park, ac­cord­ing to Lib­erty’s fil­ings. For all of 2016, the fi­nal year at Turner Field, the Braves’ rev­enue was $262 mil­lion. For all of 2017, the first year at SunTrust Park, the team’s rev­enue was $386 mil­lion, a 47per­cent in­crease. The lat­est quar­terly re­sults boosted the Braves’ rev­enue for the first nine months of 2018 to $410 mil­lion, al­ready more than in all of 2017.

Of the Braves’ $200 mil­lion in third-quar­ter rev­enue, Lib­erty said $190 mil­lion came from base­ball and $10 mil­lion from The Bat­tery, pri­mar­ily rental in­come.

The in­creased op­er­at­ing profit in the July-Septem­ber pe­riod was “pri­mar­ily driven by higher rev­enue and re­duced op­er­at­ing ex­pense from lower player salaries due to the ac­cel­er­a­tion of player salary ex­pense in pre­vi­ous quar­ters as a re­sult of re­leased and in­jured play­ers,” Lib­erty Me­dia said.

That was a ref­er­ence to the com­bined $37.5 mil-

lion that the Braves paid re­leased play­ers Adrian Gon­za­lez and Scott Kaz- mir for the 2017 sea­son. Those ex­pen­di­tures were fully ac­counted for in pre­vi­ous quar­ters’ fi­nan­cial re­ports.

Af­ter de­pre­ci­a­tion and amor­ti­za­tion, the Braves’ op­er­at­ing profit in the most re­cently com­pleted quar­ter was $45 mil­lion, up from a loss of $9 mil­lion in the same pe­riod a year ago, Lib­erty said.

The play­off games against the Dodgers in early Oc­to­ber are not in­cluded in the fi­nan­cial re­sults re­leased Thurs­day. The Braves had the same num­ber of home games – 41 – in the third quar­ters of both 2017 and 2018.

The Braves con­tinue to carry a heavy load of debt as­so­ci­ated with the con­struc­tion of SunTrust Park, The Bat­tery and a new spring-train­ing com­plex. The team’s debt de­clined slightly from $629 mil­lion as of June 30 to $626 mil­lion as of Sept. 30.

The Braves are one of the few sports teams with pub­licly traded stock, which re­quires the quar­terly dis­clo­sure of fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion.

JOHN BAZEMORE AP

Braves out­field­ers race in to join the cel­e­bra­tion af­ter de­feat­ing the Phillies to clinch the Na­tional League East on Sept. 22. Team owner Lib­erty Me­dia said Thurs­day that the Braves’ rev­enue in­creased by $15 mil­lion, from $185 mil­lion to $200 mil­lion, in the July-Septem­ber quar­ter com­pared to the same pe­riod a year ear­lier.

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