The Cardinals ranked 12th in revenue this past year, per Bill DeWitt Jr. That checks with the information from Major League Baseball and a description by other sources coming out of the season. That's not profits, for sure. But it is reflective of that. The Cardinals have been in the Top 10 for revenue, and did have a good run there right in that 8-10 range, and in more recent years they've been in that 8-12 range, which they find themselves in again. Not included in that number -- though it would not change their ranking -- is the check the Cardinals (and every other team) received from Disney's purchase of the MLBAM tech. When asked, a Cardinals official said that infusion of cash was already included in their plan to increase payroll. The big boost to get the Cardinals back on the spending curve they once imagined was the ticket sales this past season, and a lot of that obviously had to do with the return and performance of Albert Pujols. That put the Cardinals in a good spot financially. There is no evidence they are struggling financially any more than all teams were coming out of seasons with reduced revenue due to ticket sales. There is concern about the broadcast situation, obviously. The Cardinals own part of the station. They need to modernize. They need to know if the parent company of Bally Sports Midwest is going to file for bankruptcy. They need a solution.
There is evidence that the Cardinals wanted to spend more than they did. They saw a rise into the $180 million range for the opening day payroll. That positions them for their first $200-miillion payroll for the 40-man roster (total spending, by the end of the year).
A few other things. A vasty majority of teams want to make profits. That isn't special or unique to St. Louis anymore than pinstripes are unique to the Bronx. They are businesses. They want to grow their business. Owners want to make money. It is how they became owners, after all. The Cardinals chose not to spend like other teams in the NL. Some of their peers -- other teams -- believe they could grow their payroll and point to moves that did not happen (Stanton, Price) and moves that did happen (Arenado) as proof. The Cardinals will see a 13% hike in opening day payroll. When the calendar gets us closer to opening day, we'll see where that ranks. Of concern/criticism for fans should be the new money spent on the roster, not the total uptick in payroll.
And, lastly, the Cardinals do expect Ballpark Village to become a fountain of revenue at some point that spills into spending on the team. That is something they recognize needs to happen to keep pace with other clubs. I asked DeWitt about this, and he said that is the plan -- but it will be the next chairman's determine.