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Major League Baseball Focuses Investigation on Insurers That Play Ball with Clubs

Source: New York Times

Posted on 25 Aug 2010

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In the midst of information leaks about the financials concerning various teams, Major League Baseball is investigating insurance companies that provide liability insurance for top-level baseball team executives and directors (but not players), said two baseball executives familiar with the investigation.

According to one of the executives, "A couple of teams are very unhappy because the feeling is M.L.B. didn't have to provide detailed, individual team financials for this type of insurance."

A spokesman for Major League Baseball declined to comment on the specifics of the investigation. At the unveiling of a statute of him outside Miller Park in Milwaukee on Tuesday, Commissioner Bud Selig said he was disappointed by the leaks and that they were being looked into.

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ financials were leaked to The Associated Press, and those of the Florida Marlins, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays have been posted on Deadspin. The Rangers, who were sold this month in a deal valued at $590 million, lost $11.9 million last year and $10.4 million in 2008, according to the reports.

The team generated $69.8 million in media revenue in 2009, but it also had $54.9 million in long-term debt; also, its partners had to contribute $17.6 million, presumably to shore up its finances. Baseball provided the team $40 million in loans before and after it filed for bankruptcy.