“Project Wolverine,” the name of a confidential document distributed by Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, projected that the team would turn strong profits in 2018 and beyond.
The ownership group that includes Jeter and Bruce Sherman has been working over the offseason to reduce the Marlins’ payroll, trading the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Marcell Ozuna in the process. While those moves have proven unpopular with the team’s fan base, Jeter has contended that the team needs to rebuild and improve its financial situation.
The Miami Herald recently obtained two versions of Project Wolverine, including an August edition distributed to prospective investors that projected profits for the Marlins in 2018 and beyond. According to the financial projections, the Marlins would have a “cash flow” profit of $68 million for 2018 due to a variety reasons. Over subsequent years, the profits would come out to $10 million in 2019, $15.8 million in 2020, and $22 million in 2021.
Aside from slashing payroll, a number of factors were considered in the 2018 projections, including increased ticket sales and corporate sponsorship revenue, a one-time $50 million payout from Major League Baseball’s sale of BamTech to Disney, and an up-front payment from a renegotiated television deal. However, whether those factors–particularly changes to the TV contract–fall into place remains to be seen. More from The Miami Herald:
But much of that was based on the internal projection that Fox will give the Marlins a $44.8 million up-front payment as part of a renegotiated TV deal. There’s no indication if the Marlins at this point believe that will happen.
If Fox does not give the Marlins a lucrative extension and that large projected up-front payment, the Marlins’ projected profit for 2018 would drop to $23 million and potentially lower if ambitious revenue targets aren’t met.
The Marlins’ TV contract, which pays the lowest in baseball, runs through 2020.
Those profit projections in the August version of Project Wolverine are based on a player payroll of about $90 million for 2018, or $100 million including pension payments. The Marlins’ current payroll projects to $104 million before pension payments, and the team is reportedly looking to shed additional salary.
Along with the August version, the Herald obtained an earlier iteration of Project Wolverine. Subsequent versions of Project Wolverine have included updated financial figures, but the paper reports that the organization has “declined to share those numbers or comment otherwise.” Over the offseason, the Marlins have cut about $36 million from their player payroll.
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