Atlanta Braves Are Going Public
Currently, Braves Holdings, LLC is publicly traded under the broader umbrella of The Liberty Braves Group (NASDAQ: BATRA, BATRK). Liberty Media Corporation has announced a split-off of Braves Holdings, LLC (owner/operator of the Atlanta Braves) and the connected real estate development, The Battery Atlanta, from Liberty Media Corporation. The new company will be called Atlanta Braves Holdings, Inc.
Unusual in baseball, publicly traded teams give us a peak into the massive profits professional franchises earn. The Braves release an earnings report each season. In 2021, the Braves enjoyed a $104 million profit. The Braves are not the only team that releases an earnings report. The Toronto Blue Jays release an earnings report since Rogers Communication, inc. (NASDAQ: RCI) owns the team. The earnings reports produced by the Braves and Blue Jays, which show millions in profit, contradict Commissioner Rob Manfred’s assertion that owning a franchise is less profitable than buying stocks.
Since all other teams are privately owned, they do not release their earnings. Additionally, Major League Baseball passed a rule preventing new franchises from going public (Major League Baseball excluded the Braves and Blue Jays) since Major League Baseball rules require having a controlling owner with ultimate authority and responsibility for team decisions.
Tax advantages are additional incentives for privately owned teams. As detailed by ProPublica, a provision in the tax code allows owners to deduct the sale price against their income during ensuing years since owners are purchasing assets that depreciate over time. Thus, even when franchises are profitable (and often are), owners can utilize the tax code to save on taxes.
The Braves split-off must be approved by Major League Baseball. If it happens, the Braves will utilize the market boost in financing to invest in salaries, Truist Park, and the Battery, which is exciting for the team and fans alike since almost all other Major League Baseball franchises are privately-owned.
Landis Barber is an attorney at Safran Law Offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can connect with him via LinkedIn or via his blog offthecourtdocket.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Landisbarber.