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    Atlanta Braves split from Liberty Media, begin trading on Nasdaq

    The Atlanta Braves became the only publicly traded franchise in Major League Baseball on Wednesday morning after shareholders in their former parent company, Liberty Media, approved a split of the baseball team into its own entity Tuesday night.

    Atlanta Braves Holdings, which includes the baseball team and the Cobb County real estate development known as “The Battery” that houses Truist Park, was available for trading on Nasdaq under ticker symbols “BATRA,” “BATRB” and “BATRK” starting at Wednesday’s opening bell.

    Liberty Media announced plans for the split last fall, so while the move is novel among MLB’s largely private ownership cohort, it is not a surprise. As of midday Wednesday, the Braves were trading at $45.01 per share, according to MarketWatch. Rogers Communications, the parent company of the Toronto Blue Jays, is a publicly traded company.

    And while stock in any professional sports team offers a unique appeal, Atlanta is peddling its shares at a particularly fortuitous moment in the organization’s history: The Braves have the most wins in baseball, play at a new stadium in a mixed-use development others plan to emulate, with a roster full of all-stars who are all under contract for the foreseeable future.

    “The purpose here today is we absolutely want to tell you that it’s business as usual. There are no changes to how we operate,” Braves Chairman Terry McGuirk told reporters, including WSBTV-2, gathered at Truist Park Tuesday. “I’m proud to say that our franchise is looked upon as one of the gold standard franchises in baseball, and we will continue to act that way.”

    A talk with the left-hander who helped craft the minor leagues’ first CBA

    As the Braves transition to a new ownership structure, the broader baseball world continued its transition out of the regional sports network golden era Tuesday when a bankruptcy judge in Texas approved Diamond Sports Group’s petition to reject their deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Much like it did when Diamond Sports Group missed a payment to the San Diego Padres and subsequently rejected that deal earlier this year, MLB took over broadcasts of Diamondbacks games immediately. The league produced and distributed the Diamondbacks’ 16-13 victory over the Braves Tuesday night.

    Diamond Sports Group, which owned the broadcast rights to 14 major league teams, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. They have continued making rights payments to most of those teams, though they have argued in that same bankruptcy court that they should owe the Texas Rangers less than the fees outlined in the original deal because widespread cord-cutting has reduced the value of broadcast rights dramatically. Judge Christopher Lopez rejected that petition, though he acknowledged that the value of cable broadcast rights has dropped since Diamond’s parent company, Sinclair, acquired them in 2019.

    The end of Diamond’s deal with the Diamondbacks allowed MLB to take over not only production, but distribution of the team’s games. The league claims that thanks to its ability to offer the broadcasts on multiple cable systems in the area rather than just the ones that had contracted to offer Bally Sports, broadcasts will now reach approximately 5.6 million more households in the Phoenix area. The league is also offering an in-market package on MLB.TV that allows fans to pay for a subscription to their team’s games on the league’s streaming service, much like it did in San Diego. In markets where cable deals are still in place, MLB.TV blacks out local games and is not able to offer that direct-to-consumer streaming option. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has said the league will try to pay teams a portion of the revenue lost in terminated cable deals, and that all revenue from the direct-to-consumer streaming will go back to the teams.



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