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The Pittsburgh Pirates unquestioned leader jumped on 93.7 The Fan for an interview this afternoon. The highlight of the interview was that Coonelly talked about the Pirates being able to one day sign a $100 million dollar player. This was the quote we heard during the interview.
"“The Pittsburgh Pirates will sign a $100 million contract at some point, I just can’t tell you when.”"
The Bucs President spoke about building a team, winning championships, not simply collecting big contracts. He couldn’t be more on the money in that regard.
Of course, the actual time when that will occur was the question mark. The subject of the day is the New York Yankees signing 25-year-old Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka to a 7-year $155 million deal. Joe Starkey and our favorite talk show host Chris Mueller asked some pointed questions about how this will impact the Bucs.
Coonelly told Starkey and Mueller that he held his high when the team lost 105 games just like he does now, reassured fans that the team is headed in the right direction. Ticket sales are up and the club has the goal of breaking the single season attendance record for PNC Park. “…. the people on the third floor aren’t done for the year.” We thought that was pretty funny and also true.
But lost in the interview was the fact that interests us the most. It’s one that we read little about because it isn’t reported much. When a big market team signs a large media deal like the one in L.A. or Philly for example, a portion of that deal is shared with smaller clubs like the Pirates.
Coonelly said that the MLB revenue sharing system automatically takes 34 to 35% and shares it with smaller market clubs. That’s often lost in all of the dollar signs of these monster deals. It’s good news for the boys on Federal Street, but it’s also important that these ballclubs shouldn’t be able to hide any of the cash from the shared revenue pool. That’s a point that some argue is happening.
The always hot question is the Pirates TV deal with ROOT sports. As always, it was off limits due to confidentiality agreements. Coonelly said that the deal ranks well above where their lowly market size is.
Give the full interview a listen here.