How much is the Pirates' TV contract really worth?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

I'd been thinking about writing something like this, but Bob Smizik beat me to it. Anyway, in case you missed it, on Saturday morning, a fan at PirateFest picked a fight with Frank Coonelly over the Bucs' TV contract, and Coonelly insisted that $19 million for the contract was "not even close," saying that the deal ranked in the top half of all teams.

Which -- well, great! Except then where is the money going? Based on what we know about TV contracts, which admittedly isn't everything, Smizik suggests that an above-average TV contract would put the Pirates at $35 million or more per year. There's a lot we simply don't know here, but the Pirates' perpetual payroll issues would be pretty strange if they were, in fact, making that much from their TV deal.

I haven't focused on the Pirates' TV contract the way some fans have, in part because I don't like arguing about things I can't know much about, and in part because the Pirates play in a small market -- if their TV contract is small, that would make sense to me. But if the Pirates' TV deal is in the top half, well, this is something we should probably start asking more questions about.

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