Jonathan Mahler's Sunday New York Times magazine article about Nolan Ryan's ownership of the Texas Rangers baseball team reported, "The Rangers seem to fall somewhere between a large-market team whose financial model depends on big TV contracts, reliable ticket sales and lucrative sponsorship deals, and a small-market one that relies on the league's mandatory revenue-sharing to supplement the income provided by its more modest fan base."
"Revenue-sharing" in baseball has some interesting parallels to progressive taxation and redistribution of wealth in the rest of the economy. Teams that generate a lot of revenue are effectively forced to subsidize the ones that don't. The theory is that the smaller, poorer teams are supposed to spend the money on making their franchises more competitive. But in some cases, the teams stay lousy, while the owners of the teams pocket the money. The publication of confidential baseball team financial documents at Deadspin.com has sparked a fair amount of analysis and debate in the baseball world about revenue-sharing.
One difference is that baseball is a private business that can set its own rules and may decide for itself that unbalanced matchups that create 25-0 games are bad even for the big-market teams. Proponents of redistribution in the non-baseball economy make a similar argument — that income inequality is bad for everyone, even the rich.