What Can the Arizona Diamondbacks Afford in Free Agency?
Apr 6, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; MLB former commissioner Bud Selig (center) is presented a framed plaque from Arizona Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick (left) and president Derrick Hall prior to the game against the San Francisco Giants during opening day at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
This is always an interesting calculation because there is only one real source for the information: Forbes. Currently, the team is valued at $840 million, which puts them at #24 on the Forbes MLB team valuation list. That falls within range of both attendance and payroll, which Forbes uses to determine its calculation.
Also, the Diamondbacks signed a new television deal with Fox Sports Arizona before the season that will reportedly pay the team roughly $1.5 billion over 20 years. That deal starts in the 2016 season (at an estimated $75 million per year). The previous deal brought the team $32 million per year through 2015 (8-years, $250 million).
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It is a very lucrative deal; however, it is important to remember that the team will not use all of its television money on player salaries. As the ballpark ages, it will need renovations and the team needs to project to consistent rising of average player salaries. Just look the qualifying offer for free agents over the last few years ($13.3 million in 2013, $15.8 million this year). As player salaries rise, so do averages. That means $75 million in 2016 will look a lot better than $75 million in 2026 (ten years, halfway through the deal). With the expected inflation of the United States Dollar (USD) and player salaries, that $75 million will look a lot more like the $32 million they just got paid.