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new-ownership-higher-budget | May | 2007 Articles

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New Ownership, Higher Budget

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Update: On the first official day that Liberty Media owns the Atlanta Braves, the first official comments come from the suits at the top and they are something to be excited about. Liberty CEO Greg Maffei said in an interview with AJC that the Braves payroll most likely will go up.
"I'm going to leave that to [Braves CEO] Terry [McGuirk[, but I would be surprised [if it doesn't go up]. The goal is to have a successful franchise, and winning franchises are successful franchises, and there probably is some correlation between payroll and success. Not an absolute correlation, but certainly some correlation. We'll look to Terry and [Braves general manager] John [Schuerholz] to come in with what they think is needed. . . . There will probably be a budget outlined, and within that budget Terry will have flexibility to increase payroll."
Today's MLB owners meeting made what has been talked about for almost a year, official. The MLB Owners approved the exchange of the Braves as well as several publications and $1 billion from Time Warner to Liberty Media for around a 4% stake in Time Warner, the former owner of the Braves. Since 1976, when Ted Turner purchased the Braves, the team has been owned by Turner/Time Warner and has won 14 division championships, 5 National League Championships, and one World Series. The exchange had to be completed before midnight tonight when new federal tax codes would go into effect to prevent the transaction from being tax-free. Now to what everyone really cares about and that is the changes that will happen. A big fear was that the payroll would be dropped, but Liberty Media, as part of the deal will not lower the payroll below what it has been the last couple years (around the $80 million mark) and will retain Terry McGuirk as President of the team. At a stockholders meeting a while ago after the proposed deal had been made public, Liberty CEO John Malone's reply to a question about his intentions for the Braves organization.... "Beat the Mets". If we can't go any lower then I am happy because all they can do is up the payroll, but we will have to wait and see how that works out.

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