Contrary to what you might have heard, the business of baseball seems to be doing just fine.
For the 17th straight year, MLB set a record for league-wide gross revenue, this time bringing in $10.7 billion according to Forbes’ Maury Brown. That mark is reportedly about a $400 million increase from last year’s $10.3 billion.
Additionally, Forbes reports that the league’s revenue is set to continue growing over the next few years thanks to a new national television deal with Fox valued at $5.1 billion. That is reportedly a 40 percent increase from the league’s current deal and will begin in 2022.
There’s also the league’s new uniform deal with Nike. As you might have heard, the Nike swoosh will be added to MLB’s iconic uniforms for a price of more than $1 billion over the next 10 seasons. Just wait until the league inevitably adds jersey sponsors too.
Meanwhile, MLB player payrolls, bonuses and benefits reportedly came in at a total of $4.7 billion. Remember that number the next time you think player salaries are getting out of hand, and how their total income is less than half of the league’s gross revenue.
The news of the league making more money than ever also comes as it tries to squeeze the minor leagues into stripping dozens of teams of their MLB affiliations to reduce costs, to the point of threatening to tear down the whole system.
Even as teams make more money than ever before, we still see contenders try to avoid the luxury tax — of which the highest expense this year was $13.4 million — like it’s a hard salary cap by attempting to trade stars and refusing to spend on notable free agents, though there have been some notable exceptions this offseason.
The continuous rise in revenue for baseball is good news for a sport that is still dealing with declining attendance for several reasons — increased prices and noncompetitive teams among them — but that could make the upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations all the more tense in 2021.
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