A report from Deadspin's Laura Wagner outlines workplace issues at MLB Advanced Media.
Deadspin reviewed internal communications from MLB Network and MLBAM and spoke to more than a dozen current and former MLBAM employees from a number of departments within the company.
Under MLBAM’s vice president of multimedia Mike Siano and MLBAM’s director of multimedia Brett Kaplan, MLBAM fostered an unhealthy and overly demanding culture in which people worked in fear of being berated and insulted for small mistakes and were disastrously managed, resulting in the a wage suppression lawsuit that was settled earlier this year for $1.3 million.
MLBAM, ownership of which is divided equally among MLB’s 30 teams, was founded in 2000 as a way to help individual teams create websites. MLBAM's streaming service began as a way to stream MLB games and has become an industry leader.
“[Kaplan] works really hard but people hate him because he treats people entirely as a commodity without any compromise. So the morale issues ... they started pretty much from day one,” a source said.
“I remember hearing Kaplan and Siano talk down to one supervisor and that it bothered me so much that I was messaging the person next to me, like, ‘Why is this happening?’ Just their tone, talking to someone like they’re stupid,” said a another source.
Kaplan also contributed to a structure in an effort to avoid paying overtime, which is what triggered the $1.3 million settlement.
Like many media companies, MLBAM relies on the desire of people to work in sports and media despite low pay and being treated poorly.
“They have a ton of young candidates lined up at the door. When you get there you realize how disposable you are,” a source said.
The MLB had $10.3 billion in revenues last year and that excludes the sale of BAMTech to Disney.
“Baseball is the only sport I love and the only sport I care about,” said one source, “and on top of what I’ve seen with owners dicking around free agents and how the commissioner’s office isn’t helping players, it’s a bummer to see it happening internally as well.”