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Mets Future and SNY



By Mike Silva ~ May 31st, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva, Sports Media Commentary.

On Sunday night, Howard Megdal of the Journal News joined me on my weekly radio show. During our discussion about the Mets ownership drama, I brought up the point that David Einhorn may be inclined to evaluate the Mets on SNY, especially considering he’s gone on record saying he has no interest in the network. Yesterday, Mike Ozanian of Forbes suggested the Mets deal with SNY is undervalued and Einhorn might be wise to seek a better deal with another Regional Sports Network.

Back in February, Ozanian discussed how the $450 million dollar loan SNY took from JPMorgan Chase would impact the sale of the Mets. SNY used half of the loan to pay themselves a dividend, the rest to pay down debt. The Mets will receive $68 million in rights fees from SNY this year. That will jump to $83 million in 2015, which is still 20% lower than what the Yankees receive from YES. In short, the five year old network isn’t much of an asset with all the debt attached to it.

I always questioned the mantra that SNY is a “cash cow.” In theory, that is correct, but the non-Mets programming is so weak that it never made sense. Sure, they have New York Jets, Big East, and University of Connecticut, but they do little with it. I am sure the Mets struggles haven’t helped the ratings. In this challenging economy wouldn’t it be logical to deduce that advertising revenues are down? If so, how could this entity be such a cash cow? Isn’t it reasonable to deduce its struggling just as much financially as the New York Mets? The brokered programming in morning hours should be signal that not all is well.

Look across town at YES. They have Mike Francesa, Centerstage, Forbes SportsMoney, Yankees baseball, Manchester United, the New Jersey Nets, Giants programming, and multiple Yankees-centric programming that is top rate. If you are a business with finite advertising dollars, where would you invest? With YES, a Regional Sports Network, or SNY, a cable channel that dumps programming around the Mets? I think the answer is easy. There appears to be no plan with SNY, which is amazing considering they have been on the scene since 2006.

Obviously, none of us knows all the financial parameters of the Einhorn deal. He very well may not be able to move the Mets from SNY; however, if he can, I would suggest looking at partnering with MSG. The Knicks are on the rise, the Rangers have some of the most loyal fans in all of sports, and the Islanders future doesn’t look too bad if they get their new arena. Why settle for an undervalued agreement with SNY when you can be part of an MSG powerhouse?

The more news that comes out regarding this ownership situation, the more you realize how poorly run the organization and network has been under Wilpon ownership.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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1 Response to Mets Future and SNY

  1. Patrick

    You hit the nail on the head regarding the overhyped value of SNY. Also consider that the payment the Mets get nearly 40% goes into revenue sharing of MLB. So in essence the Mets get $40MM before taxes, at the end of the day when all the money is sliced up as Sterling revenue, you maybe get Luis Castillo out of the SNY deal annually.

    Advertising was certainly down in 2009 and 2010, but sports marketing tends to stay up even in bad economies. The leagues say otherwise, but it is one place advertisers tend to stay glued to as it is consistent source of eyeballs.

    One need only do a cursory day look at MSG, Yes and SNY to see they get a lot of “garbage” ad time. Also lots of repetitive ads.

    I suspect the real reason Einhorn wanted nothing to do with SNY was the complexity of dealing with co-owning groups Time Warner and NBCUniversal. The payout they would want from a new partner would be a hassle right now. Easier to just consider taking that piece of the pie if the Wilpons go belly up.

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