"Really excited about the award for the sport," Manfred said in an interview with the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily. "Cubs and the Indians delivered a great World Series for us, and we did some things that were new and different. I think Fort Bragg was a ground-breaking event for us and, of course, the partnership with Disney and BAM Tech was really important to our year."
The defending World Series champion Cubs, who captivated the sports world in 2016 by ending their 108-year title drought, were also recognized. Chicago earned Team of the Year honors, beating out the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Miami Dolphins and Toronto FC. Additionally, Cubs chairman and owner Tom Ricketts was named Executive of the Year.
The Cubs are the third Major League organization to win Team of the Year, joining the San Francisco Giants (2011) and the Boston Red Sox (2008). Ricketts is the first baseball executive commemorated.
"A great day," Ricketts told Sports BusinessJournal/Daily. "Obviously, the team won as Team of the Year, and I was fortunate enough to get Executive of the Year, but honestly, it's the same thing. The people that all do the work are the people who deserve the award for both of those."
The Sports Business Awards were established in 2008 by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily to recognize yearly leaders in the business of sports. This year's nominees and winners were recognized for achievements between March 1, 2016, and Feb. 28, 2017.
Baseball's other nominees included the 2016 World Series between the Cubs and Indians, which was among the contenders for the Sports Event of the Year award that went to the 100th installment of the Indianapolis 500, and MLB Advanced Media, nominated for the Best in Digital Sports Media title given to NBC Sports Group. MLBAM previously won the award in 2016 and 2010, and also won Best in Sports Technology in 2009.
MLB apparel partner Fanatics also won for Breakthrough of the Year.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.