Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

World Series: Behind The Biz And A Blog Exclusive


The Colorado Rockies take on the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the World Series tonight. And we're doing everything we can here at CNBC to take you behind the business of it all like no one else can.

For example, take the story we did on the furniture store owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. Back in March and April, these guys, Jordan's Furniture, offered free furniture for a six week period of time if the Red Sox won the World Series. Don't worry. They have an insurance policy and there's supposedly a guy who bought a whole motel worth of furniture. Click on the video below to watch:

Berkshire Hathaway Plays Ball

And now for a blog exclusive. I want to talk about parity today. My definition of parity? Not only the ability of teams to compete but to make the championship game or series. Today, sports leagues are enjoying the greatest parity in modern day history.

Even with the Patriots dynasty, think about the fact that 13 NFL teams have participated in the last seven Super Bowls. Baseball, ribbed for its competitive imbalance after the Yankees won four of five, has seen 12 teams go to the World Series since 2000. The NHL? Eleven teams have played in the last seven Stanley Cups. So only the NBA, which some may argue has seen too much of the Spurs, Lakers, Nets and Pistons, lacks an impressive number. Only nine teams.

Pretty cool that your team actually has a chance these days, right? But what do we owe this to? I'm going to focus on baseball here because there's only a luxury tax not a salary cap and because baseball execs have taken credit for the righting the ship, thanks in part to revenue sharing, they say.

But I think credit actually shouldn't be going to MLB team offices. It should instead go to players (obviously) and those that make personnel decisions at World Series teams that have reached the October classic without huge payrolls. After all, if it were about what the league was doing, wouldn't we see less imbalance in the payrolls between World Series participants?

You see, the truth is that money allows teams to make more mistakes, but fiscal spenders who spend prudently can still win. That means it's harder to correlate revenue sharing with getting to the biggest games of them all.

Just look at the payrolls. If the Rockies were spending $90 million, maybe we could say baseball did it. But their opening day payroll was $54 million. The White Sox spent $75 million in 2005 when they won. The Marlins spent $45 million in 2003.

It's great that in seven years, 40 percent of Major League Baseball teams played in the World Series. But I'm not going to give full credit to MLB execs until the Devil Rays make it there on a $100 million payroll.

Questions?  Comments?