« More articles in Uncategorized   |   Go Home

Image by Getty Images via DaylifeHopefully this will be my last soccer-related post for a while, but here’s Tracy Ringolsby in Friday’s Rocky Mountain News:

Oakland assistant general manager David Forst is quick to decline interview requests for GM jobs because he figures to be the head man with the Athletics as early as next season. While Billy Beane will be around, Beane has indicated he plans to put his focus on developing the pro soccer team that he is involved with, along with Athletics owner Lewis Wolf.

Predictably, the blogosphere seems to care a lot more about this than the mainstream press. We generally tend to track every word out of Beane’s mouth, let alone rumors of a potential job change. And to be honest, this is a very interesting story.

But as a pure business move, I’m not seeing the value here. The Oakland A’s are a relatively big business; the San Jose Earthquakes are not. Even if they win the MLS Cup for the next ten years in a row, they are still inherently limited by the league’s sparse popularity and revenues.

I’m not an expert on the MLS’s business, but I thought this was interesting. If the average MLS team is bringing in $12 million in revenue, that means the entire league is somewhere around $170 million. According to Forbes, the Oakland A’s were 24th in baseball with $154 in revenue, and that figure doesn’t include any money brought in from MLB Advanced Media. So the question is, why would Lew Wolf want his top executive shifting from a valuable (and potentially high-growth) asset, to one that has yet to prove it even can be significantly profitable?

I do get it from Billy’s perspective; everybody needs a new challenge once in a while, and there’s a lot more to learn about soccer at this point than there is about baseball. And we know he’s been edging in this direction for a while. But that still doesn’t change the fact that Billy is one of the most valuable assets in all of baseball, and the financial returns he could bring to the Earthquakes are still relatively limited.

Feedback? Write a comment, or e-mail the author at shawn(AT)squawkingbaseball.com

2 Existing Comments

Add New Comment

  1. on July 3rd at 01:27 pm
    Brandon Heikoop said:

    Could it be that Wolf believes anyone can successfully run the business side of the A’s, while it takes an intelligent and creative person to succeed within MLS? Furthermore, how much further can MLB develop? Much of the development from that perspective will be from the head offices in NY. Whereas there is a large untapped market for soccer in North America. Having the right minds in place to jump onto that is vital.

    That is…The A’s aren’t going anywhere and whether I was running the team or Beane, the A’s would be profitable. The Quakes on the other hand are involved in a new league that needs new minds to make the initial investments worthwhile.

  2. [...] team manager Davey Johnson - yahoo Rangers don’t regret parting with Ponson - newsday Squawking SoccerÖ? - [...]

Pittsburgh Florist