By now you’re likely aware of the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays have signed third baseman Evan Longoria to an extension that could keep him with the club through the 2023 season.
The announcement is certain to excite Rays’ fans as Tampa Bay has always been regarded as a low-budget club. They opened up their wallets to lock up the face of their franchise long-term, and Steve Slowinski of DRaysBay believes it was "100% the right decision."
That said, this was 100% the right decision by the Rays. As many people have mentioned in the comments here and on Twitter, Longoria is the sort of player that you build a franchise's identity around. How else are you going to increase attendance, unless you're actively working to build a fanbase and a legacy? The Rays are a young team, but now they've locked up the most important player in their franchise's history so that he'll be around his entire career.
The Rays made a statement by inking Longoria, but how did the previously tight-fisted club afford such an extension. Slowinski chalks it up to three words:
What gives? How is this possible? Three words: changing revenue streams.
Tampa Bay is getting a boost from incoming television contracts. The team will receive an additional $25 million in revenue next year from the new national television contracts, and in 2016 they’ll be renegotiating their local television deal.