Braves’ quarterly revenue jumps 20% to $260 million

Braves fans enter the right field gate at Truist Park before a game against the New York Mets on July 11, 2022. The game marked the Braves' final World Series replica rings giveaway promotion. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

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Braves fans enter the right field gate at Truist Park before a game against the New York Mets on July 11, 2022. The game marked the Braves' final World Series replica rings giveaway promotion. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Earlier this week, the Braves spent a lot of money, signing third baseman Austin Riley to a 10-year, $212 million contract and assuming a $48 million commitment across the next three years to relief pitcher Raisel Iglesias.

The Braves clearly can afford the spending spree, based on new financial results disclosed Friday.

Boosted by surging attendance at Truist Park, the Braves generated revenue of $260 million for the April-through-June quarter, according to the disclosures by team owner Liberty Media.

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That represents a revenue increase of $44 million – or 20.4% -- from the same three-month period in 2021 and an increase of $52 million – or 25% -- from the corresponding period in 2019, the last season before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s an exciting team, and the (World Series) halo is still driving fans to Truist Park,” Liberty Media President and CEO Greg Maffei said on a conference call with investment analysts Friday.

The Braves’ expenses also were sharply higher in the April-June quarter than a year ago, largely because of a higher player payroll. Still, Braves Holdings had an operating profit before depreciation and amortization – the most common metric, along with revenue, for assessing a pro sports franchise’s economic performance – of $57 million for the quarter, compared with $54 million in the same period last year.

Operating expenses totaled $203 million in the quarter, up from $162 million in the same period last year, a 25% increase.

The Braves took on some additional expenses for the remainder of 2022 with a series of acquisitions before Tuesday’s trade deadline. Maffei praised general manager Alex Anthopoulos for those moves.

“We do remember how well this worked out last year,” said Maffei, referring to Anthopoulos’ 2021 deadline deals that propelled the team to the World Series championship.

Of the Braves’ $260 million in revenue during the second quarter of this year, Liberty Media attributed $247 million to baseball sources, including tickets, concessions, suites, local broadcast rights, sponsorships and shared league-wide revenue such as national broadcasts and licensing. The other $13 million in revenue was attributed to real-estate development in The Battery Atlanta mixed-use development, primarily rental income.

“Revenue growth more than offset increased operating costs, (which were) due to higher player salaries, more normalized levels of facility and game-day expenses, increased revenue-sharing expenses and increases in personnel costs,” Liberty Media said.

The Braves are on pace to surpass 3 million in home attendance this year for the first time since 2000. Maffei said attendance is up 23% from this point in 2019. The Braves are trending toward selling out roughly half of their home games this year, he said.

Results for the April-June quarter last year were affected by reduced seating capacity at Truist Park in the first month of the 2021 season because of COVID-19 restrictions. The Braves played one more home game in the second quarter of 2021 than in the second quarter of 2022.

Liberty Media also disclosed Friday that the Braves’ debt decreased $76 million in this year’s second quarter, dropping from $678 million on March 31 to $602 million June 30. The decrease was “driven by debt repayment under the MLB league-wide credit facility,” Liberty said. Most of the Braves’ debt stems from costs associated with the construction of Truist Park, The Battery and a new spring training complex.

Cash and cash equivalents attributed to the Braves decreased $104 million during the quarter, from $311 million on March 31 to $207 million June 30, “as cash from operations was more than offset by net debt repayment, increases in restricted cash (under terms of various financial obligations) and capital expenditures for the continued expansion of the mixed-use development,” Liberty Media said.