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Red Sox Operating At A Deficit, Or Why NESN Is A Really Big Deal

Baseball is a business, whether we like it or not. Teams exist to make money, not lose it. So it comes as a bit of a surprise when (at first glance), in Forbes' most recent MLB team valuations, the Red Sox are listed with an operating income of...

-1.1 million dollars. Yes, that's a deficit.

Well, that doesn't seem so good, then, does it? How are the Sox going to stay afloat with big purchases like Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford?

Oh, wait, those figures don't include NESN:

Only three teams had a negative operating income in 2010: the Detroit Tigers (-$29 million), Mets (-$6 million) and Boston Red Sox (-$1 million), which collectively spent $475 million on players (including benefits and bonuses). Each ranked among the top six biggest spenders last year, but the Mets and Red Sox own stakes in regional sports networks, which offset any losses on the diamond.

It just goes to show once again how important NESN is to the Red Sox. While even with it they can't compete financially with the Yankees and YES (who are valued at $1.7 billion to the Sox' $900 million), it's hard to imagine how vast the difference would be without it.