How Television Could Launch a Rangers Dynasty

From Jonah Keri at on September 7, 2011, with quotes from SABR President Vince Gennaro:

For the first 49 years of their history, the Texas Rangers and their predecessors in Washington, D.C., ranked among the worst franchises in all of sports. They went 35 years without sniffing the postseason. They won three division titles in four years in the ’90s … and won exactly one playoff game.

Finally, after a half-century in the wilderness, the Rangers broke through in 2010, knocking off the two best teams in the American League and making their first World Series. Now the major league roster is loaded with young talent, there’s plenty left on the farm, they’re well stocked with bright coaches, scouts, and talent evaluators, and they have a shot to get back to the World Series again this year.

That’s just the beginning. The Rangers are primed to become a baseball superpower. The biggest reason why has little to do with anything happening on the field.


The Rangers’ broadcast deal with Fox Sports Southwest takes effect after the 2014 season. Total value of the contract: $1.6 billion. If that sounds like a lot of dough, it should. Teams are notoriously secretive about their revenue streams, and the particulars of TV deals are no exception. But based on the reports that have surfaced on other clubs, the Rangers’ $80 million annual take from the Fox deal could top every other team’s local contract, save for the Yankees and Red Sox. And while the Yankees and Red Sox own huge stakes in their own regional sports networks, the Rangers’ deal is by far the largest ever inked with an independent RSN.

“On this scale, yes, it blows everything else out of the water,” said Vince Gennaro, author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball. “When you’re talking those kinds of dollars, it makes you appreciate how teams can not be tethered to their physical market and their live gate. It fundamentally changes the Rangers’ economics.”


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Originally published: September 9, 2011. Last Updated: September 9, 2011.