The major turnaround for the Atlanta Braves didn’t just happen on the field. On the way to their first title in 26 years, the champs also saw a strong third quarter, according to reports filed by Liberty Media.
The Braves parent company reported on Thursday that the franchise reeled in $234 million in total revenue between July and September. That’s a 113% increase from the same period last year ($110 million), when the Braves were hit hard by the absence of fans at Truist Park. That’s also nearly an 11% increase from the analogous time in 2019, when the Braves generated $212 million in revenue.
The financial boon of the Braves’ World Series run isn’t reflected in the latest earnings report, since the playoffs started in October. Nevertheless, the fourth-quarter results will close out a banner recovery year for John Malone’s Liberty, which also owns Formula One and Sirius XM.
“The financial performance of the team was as impressive as the on-field performance,” Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said on a call with investors on Thursday.
The Braves, which were bought by Liberty in 2007, are the first publicly owned North American pro sports team to win a championship since the Green Bay Packers in 2011. The stock market reflected the excitement, with the Braves (NASDAQ: BATRA) stock surging 19% since Oct. 11.
The rebound reflected in the most recent quarterly report comes after a year decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. Last year the Braves reported a 48% decline in revenue. But with help from Georgia’s loosened COVID-19 rules, the Braves were able jumpstart their recovery quicker than many others; Atlanta was the first Major League Baseball club to remove attendance restrictions in May. The better-than-expected business early in the season paved the way for the club to make key acquisitions at the trade deadline—which included eventual World Series MVP Jorge Soler—in the wake of losing star outfielders Ronald Acuña Jr. (injury) and Marcell Ozuna (administrative leave, pending domestic assault charges).
“We had such a good first half of the season and were actually overdelivering on our budgets, and so we were able to say, ‘Yeah, we should go for it,’” Braves CEO and president Derek Schiller said during a recent SporticoLive appearance. “[General manager] Alex Anthopoulos pulled the trigger and made a number of moves that obviously propelled us.”
It’s been quite the rollercoaster for the Braves: In 2019, they generated a franchise-record $476 million in revenue only to see a drastic decline to $178 million last year. Buoyed by the second-highest attendance in the league this season (2.3 million), the team is on pace to shatter its revenue mark from two years ago.
“With our on-field success, we’ve already sold thousands of new season tickets plans for the 2022 season,” Maffei added.
Meanwhile, Liberty Media cruises into the end of the year after what has been an eventful few weeks for the Colorado-based conglomerate. Last month, Formula One returned to Texas for the first time in two years with the U.S. Grand Prix, which drew a total attendance of about 400,000 to Austin over a three-day weekend. Formula One and SiriusXM saw revenues increase over last year’s third quarter by 12% ($668 million) and 9% ($2.2 billion), respectively.