Despite the good intentions behind revenue sharing, doling out money to baseball’s have-nots has the unintended consequence of creating a disincentive to win. Though the correlation is not perfect, winning tends to attract fans, which increases local revenue. But a healthier bottom line means drawing less from the revenue-sharing pool. The quandary faced by poor-and-losing teams is that using the added wealth to improve their clubs increases local earnings, but these gains may be offset by reducing revenue-sharing payments.
J.C. Bradbury, a sports economist at Kennesaw State University and author of the blog “Sabernomics,” addressed the issues surrounding revenue sharing in Saturday’s New York Times. I suppose he would be the expert on these sorts of things, and it’s the best take I’ve read on the leaked financial documents. As far as I can tell, Bradbury knows his stuff.