Fitch Ratings affirmed the 'A' rating of Major League Baseball's (MLB) $1.4 billion league-wide revenue-backed securitization facility. The facility is made up of $853 million variable funding notes, $389 million series-1 term notes and $125 million series-2 term notes. The rating outlook is stable.
On Dec. 15, 2008, the trust issued $125 million of series-2 term notes that were used to partially pay down the outstanding $978 million variable funding notes. As a result, the overall leverage of the Trust remains unchanged, Fitch said.
The notes are primarily secured by rights to certain payments shared among MLB clubs, including, telecast and radio broadcast revenues from national and international media contracts. The notes also receive payments from revenues under licensing and sponsorship contracts entered into by Major League Baseball Enterprises, the rating agency said, although to a lesser degree.Trust performance remains within expectations as broadcast agreements with FOX Broadcasting Co., Turner Broadcasting System, and ESPN provide contractual revenue through the 2013 season, Fitch said. There was also a collective bargaining agreement in December 2006 between MLB's club owners and the Major League Baseball Players Association, which prevents a work stoppage through the 2011 season. Strong park attendance figures in 2008 and continued stable television ratings also add to the financial stability of the Trust.