1) This year’s World Series and the World Champion Boston Red Sox reveal one thing: money talks. According to the Wall Street Journal, both the Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers are proof of the “cold reality” that money really does matter in professional baseball. The Red Sox have reached the “third and highest tier of luxury tax spending, investing more than $237 million in payroll” this season, while no other team in the league comes even close to that. And despite reaching the last two but not winning a World Series in over three decades, the Dodgers “have spent about $1.4 billion in salaries to claim the last six NL West crowns.” The Red Sox, who bested the Dodgers 4-1 this Series, had the league’s highest payroll, thanks to their iconic venue, deeply-rooted fan base, and an RSN deal valued at more than $8 billion. The Dodgers had the third biggest payroll in the majors. Both of these elite clubs epitomize the current state of MLB; smaller market teams will continue to struggle without the right financial investments going forward.
2) The World Series just ended, but MLB is already looking toward next season. According to SportsBusiness Journal, the league will roll out a series of innovative programs aimed at helping players “who are interested in being out there, interested in marketing themselves, but making it easy for them to do.” Social media will be a big area of focus in the offseason, according to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. “The trick with players is that things are authentic,” said Manfred. “What we put on social media through our accounts may be really good but when you add the players’ input or their take on what has happened on social media, it’s way more important to our fans.” The league will be providing players with highlights next season by allowing them to simply grab the content and repost it on their pages. MLB still struggles with youth engagement and decreasing levels of participation — the social media push is a step in the right direction to make baseball “cool” again.
3) Midway through the NFL season, Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium is working to finalize most of its Super Bowl details. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Super Bowl LIII on February 3 will have ultra cheap concessions prices compared to past events and other NFL games. The stadium’s “much-publicized” food and beverage prices will not change for the Super Bowl; hot dogs will still cost $2, soft drinks and popcorn will still be refillable, and more. Stadium officials noted that they "stipulated in Atlanta’s Super Bowl contract that concession prices would remain the same as at Falcons games and other stadium events.” The league is still deciding whether or not it would be possible to play the game with the sunflower-shaped roof open. “Open-or-closed is going to change the dynamics of a few things — some of our halftime stuff, some of our pregame stuff,” said NFL VP of Event Operations and Production Jon Barker. “All of that will go into consideration, but…from an NFL standpoint we would love to see it open.” Just like NFL fans will love to see those cheap food and beer prices come February 3.