ANALYSIS: Why Great Britain Baseball will never reach the same financial power as the USA

Great Britain have finally shone onto the biggest stage of baseball, with their first-ever win in the World Baseball Classic on Monday. The team defeated Colombia 7-5 to seal this historic feat, but it’s not been an easy road when compared to the powerhouse they faced in game one, the USA. 

There’s no need to hide the clear difference in financial power between GB and, pretty much, the World within the sport, but a 6-2 loss to the USA is something that GB shouldn’t be upset about.

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When you put it into perspective, GB has three semi-professional leagues compared to USA’s eight professional leagues, but every single player on the current roster is playing outside the UK and has grown up outside the country, mainly in the USA itself. 

When you look at the monetary value of both programmes, you only need to do a small bit of research to see the clear difference… funding and revenue, which all stems from the feeder system the USA has in place. 

GB qualified for the WBC in September, beating Spain 10-9, and since then, they’ve received only £90,000 of funding from UK Sport, but this must be shared with the country’s softball side of operations as well, and revenue-wise, there was no information.

When compared to the USA, no funding is needed due to the immense revenue the MLB brings in each year, which was reported at $10.8 billion in 2022, 120,000% more than GB’s funding for the tournament.

In my opinion, the major difference that stands out to me is the players’ contracts when comparing the line-ups from the opening match of Pool C between the two nations. 

As aforementioned, MLB has a ludicrous reach when it comes to money and the contracts of the USA team are astonishing in comparison to Drew Spencer’s squad. 

Seattle Mariners’ best prospect Harry Ford leads the way for GB, with a $4,366,400 contract for one year, followed by LA Dodgers outfielder Trayce Thompson.

When finding an average for the line-up used in the clash with the USA, three of the 11 don’t have any stats surrounding contracts, which makes me believe they’re on a small minor league contract. 

The one-year average contract value for team GB is $982,960 and when you compare it to the US, their average for one year is an astonishing $27,487,539 per year, 2,696% higher.

If you compare each team’s highest and lowest batting earner, it makes the difference look even more ridiculous. 

Ford leads the way for GB with $4,366,400, whilst BJ Murray’s $125,000 rounds out the team. As for the US, Mike Trout’s 3x American League MVP career has handed him $35,541,666 per year compared to the lowest on the team, Kyle Tucker earning $5,000,000. 

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The shear difference in monetary value is something that gives the US major power and it’s just something that can’t be immediately matched. 

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that GB can’t find success, as was shown in a superb performance against Colombia and the tight 2-1 loss to Mexico last night.

If Colombia lose to the USA, which is likely, then GB will automatically qualify for the 2026 WBC which will bring in some more funding, but nowhere near the amount needed to fight with the USA on the top stage of baseball.

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