Why Does Lemieux Want to Buy the Pirates?
Don’t be confused by the news this morning that Mario Lemieux wants to buy the Pirates. It would (I think) be good for the city and the team. However, it wouldn’t be nearly as good for us as it would be for him. Just a couple, top-of-my-head thoughts on how:
- A TV Network – I guarantee there’s one CEO who spat out his coffee when he read the story this morning, the guy at Fox Sports Net – Pittsburgh. Lemieux would almost certainly want to build a TV Network that would show the 244 combined Pirates/Penguins games. This would essentially cut out the middle-man (FSN) and allow all of the money to flow back in to the teams. This is (as I said) a good thing for us, but not as good as it is for Mario.
- Economies of Scale – You can reduce the redundancy; ticket sales teams, PR offices, etc… With the teams having (mostly) separate seasons this collapsing of expenses would be even more pronounced. Without being intimately familiar with either teams’ net income statement, I’m going to guess the savings here would be HUGE. That would leave more money for on the field/ice development (good for us) but mostly more money in Mario’s pocket (good for him).
Bottom Line: I think Mario has done a good job with the Penguins and could with the Pirates. However, any success he’s had beyond Nutting can be mostly attributed to luck. If Alvarez and McCutchen turn out to be as good as Crosby and Malkin we’ll all think Nutting is the best owner in sports. I think this would be a good thing for the Pirates, but not quite as good as most of Pittsburgh is likely to believe.