Bobby Bonilla Deal

The New York Mets made one of the worst deals in sports history. From 2011 to 2035, the Mets have and will pay Bobby Bonilla, a baseball player who has long since retired, $1.19MM every year.

A “Bobby Bonilla deal” is one that results in substantial compensation being paid with no value being generated at all for a long time. You can tell it’s a Bobby Bonilla deal if you ask the question, “What value will the other party bring 10 years from now?” and the answer is, “Nothing but they will still get paid handsomely.”

This might sound a lot like royalties, but I assure you it is not! With royalties, there is a tangible, renewable, asset that has value and can be traded. Its value could decline but so would usage and therefore royalty payments. On the other hand, a professional baseball player is a depreciating asset that, by definition, goes to zero.