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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Rob Manfred Gets Extension Amid MLB’s Resurgence

  • Four-year renewal arrives far less drama than original election
  • Uneven tenure now reaching high point amid resurgent popularity for the sport
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

On Wednesday, MLB owners approved a four-year contract extension for commissioner Rob Manfred, keeping him in place until January 2029 as the league looks to build on the sport’s recent resurgence on the field and at the turnstiles.

The renewal also represents a marked difference from Manfred’s original election in 2014, when his ultimate victory required multiple ballots.

Manfred’s eight-plus years on the job have been decidedly uneven. MLB annual revenue has risen to nearly $11 billion, and the league has negotiated new media deals and continues to navigate the disruption caused by the collapse of regional sports networks. On the other hand, Manfred has dealt with labor strife with the MLB Players Association and stadium issues for Oakland and Tampa Bay — and he has notably struggled at times with his role as the game’s ambassador.

But 2023 perhaps represents the high point of the 64-year-old’s tenure thus far. The league has enjoyed renewed excitement thanks to a trio of new rules improving on-field action and speeding up games — resulting in projected attendance growth of 6% to 8%.

“At a critical moment in the history of our game, commissioner Manfred has listened to our fans and worked closely with our players to improve America’s pastime,” said Seattle Mariners owner and MLB executive council member John Stanton.

Salary Comps

Financial terms of the new deal weren’t disclosed, but Manfred is estimated to have earned about $25 million annually in his prior deal, including bonuses. 

The sum is far less than the nearly $64 million NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is estimated to earn per year, but more than the last known salaries of NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman — about $10 million each.

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