where to buy zofran ointment side effects of zantac baby ditropan prescription medicine chloroquine dose malaria treatment lodine etodolac side effects beconase aqueous nasal spray ingredients asthma in children uk tamoxifen without radiotherapy misoprostol and pregnancy nejm purchase plavix in us how to buy minomycin in london order risperdal online without rx where can i get claritin how to purchase cozaar online canadian rx pill identifier buy diovan overseas coversyl 5mg side effects lidocaine injection for pain serevent without prescription reviews on flonase lynoral for dogs buy tadapox prices usa kwikmed coupon free shipping motrin by mail where to buy atorlip-10 in canada safely buy decadron hong kong generic propranolol hydrochloride tablets 10 mg buy digoxin online with out prescription pharmacy has best price reminyl where to buy sarafem in canada safely desyrel non perscription countries lariam online usa no prescription uroxatral next day buy decadron hong kong prescription generic name free male fertility pills cheap generic skelaxin advair diskus overnight shipping cheap pharmaceutical machinery suppliers in south africa avodart usa cvs prices united healthcare prescription solutions prior authorization form average cost of lexapro 20 mg entocort pharmacy order buy no prescription needed bactrim online eurax hydrocortisone cream pregnancy diflucan drug store online difference between kamagra cialis canadian pharmacy exam by fatima cheapest provera tablets uk where can i get accutane in malaysia generic cialis online canada buy levothyroxine sodium no prescription pharmacy little blue pill with a v on it 2531 vermox online usa priligy 30mg side effects cheap januvia free delivery what is suprax for generic equivalent for benicar hct clonidine shortage how much is plendil tablets lamisil medicine children best place to but cialis what is rumalaya liniment used for buy allopurinol cheap all rights reserved mania buy extendaquin online can i get protonix where to get clomiphene citrate acheter zithromax monodose dipyridamole online uk where to cleocin what is a good starting dose for zoloft bactrim on line toradol for daily use canada buying v-gel voveran by mail order lov cost eldepryl augmentin tablets price what is cephalexin 250 mg prescribed for 100 mg forzest atarax overnight delivery buy januvia uk accutane commercial warning comprar caverta original en madrid purchase citalopram 20mg zyprexa 10mg tablet over the counter amaryl online next day buy doxycycline hyclate tablets danazol mg tablet can u buy clomid online ordering low dose revatio acheter livebox 2 carrefour buy entocort capsules cheap roxithromycin free delivery without script buy allopurinol doctor indian generics online elavil how long does prednisolone take to work for asthma buying hydrea from canada no prescription costco aleve prices can buy viagra jelly online purchase online cheapest famvir prices buy ephedraxin tablets canada cheap generic hytrin trust org comprar cialis spain safe buy viramune online viagra soft cost buy ashwagandha no prescription where can i buy nizoral in canada fosamax online how to get plavix without insurance himcolin drugstore.com can i buy tamoxifen in the uk viramune pas cher what is adalat cc used for cipro xr 1g tabletas inderal drug schedule where can i get benzac pills buy tenormin buy cafergot online no prescription uk buying sinequan in manchester how much does cialis cost without insurance flonase discount diovan hct 80mg/12.5mg tablets cafergot pills online rx no prescription fosamax tablet 70 mg 4 tb cheapest bupron sr to buy aceon vermox tablety uk finax prix en pharmacie en france vermox 100mg tabletta strattera sublingual dosage mexico avapro generic elocon for sale on line generic danazol cvs pharmacy claritin buy maxaman online no prescription us very cheap diarex meloxicam dosage by weight how to use penegra 50 geriforte tablets himalaya viagra philippines sulit effexor uk is generic prazosin available in usa where can i get metronidazole or tinidazole rumalaya gel with paypal payment how to play the drugstore game lopid coupons natural viagra replacement prescription drug buy allopurinol what is evecare requip xl generic drug que precio tiene el roacutan en mexico order viagra super active from india without prescription how to use floxin otic what is cyklokapron used for prinivil classification proventil usa buy generic proventil online eurax ordering no prescription synthroid rx half price chloromycetin cheap flonase sale uk non generic clonidine pills cheap keflex online overnight shipping discount code for cialis sublingual on line drugs purchase generic danazol what is lithium grease what is viagra drugs generic paxil sale better than finast is inderal legal in uk motilium drugs for sale buy orlistat reviews toradol where can i buy low price procardia uk where to buy unisom sleeptabs drugstore buy zithromax 100mg online taking isotretinoin alcohol skin care routine after accutane buy nizagara 100mg online feldene generic for tadapox tablets purchase on line zoloft where can i buy it cheap septilin uk sale entocort purchase risperdal 4mg hair medication propecia coreg 20 mg side effects erythromycin no prescription trileptal 300 mg tablets plavix store coupons para que es clorfenamina compuesta furosemide 20 mg pictures no prescription aristocort how to get lotrisone drug cialis professional without prescriptions free coupon for nolvadex alli diet pill availability exelon generic for order prednisone cheap buy amaryl online no prescription united states list of intermolecular forces weakest to strongest septilin drug class buy trental without a prescription from canadian pharmacy best price buy propecia where to buy lotensin risperdal wanted online review femara shopping singular allergy medicine singulair order trimox online without rx daily cialis not working voltaren reviews and dosage acticin pharmacy what does clomid do to your cycle canadian healthcare system 2012 depakote cheap uk depakote pills buy cheap cymbalta 100 mg culturismo italiano andrea nuccitelli comprar zebeta en argentina haldol tablets dose tamoxifen mg india fertomid for sale online discount drugs no prescription needed on line drug co. in australia levaquin side effects long term use albendazole with no rx is clonidine over the counter aldactone prescription effects interactions cash insurance check british columbia pharmacies avodart for daily use canada permethrin insecticide uk alphagan without could eye common side effects of biaxin safe place order flovent ampicillin shoppers drug mart allegra d dosage children buspar sold over counter nifedipine capsules side effects online pharmacy no prescription zoloft buy viagra sublingual cheap dostinex without prescription canada lodrane 24 medication annual sales clonidine hydrochloride trileptal lawsuit canada where to buy inderal drugs online order fluoxetine in cheap augmentin us view topic fastest methotrexate uk delivery abilify discount code vente de femara au quebec how to use nitroglycerin transdermal patches buy viagra uk erectile dysfunction flagyl er australia pharmacy kamagra gold western australia which pharmacy in dubai sells viagra viagra super active prescription only torsemide barato over counter nymphomax differin gel 0.3 generic drug cheap diamox pills prescription benadryl australia price shuddha guggulu no prescription compare prices what is the generic name for mircette acai berry tablets (1500mg) reviews discount buspar otc comprar propecia en vancouver deltasone canadian pharmacy aristocort prices buying acivir pills buy zyvox from canada anafranil online legally cost of trimox without insurance mobic 7.5 price buy amitriptyline 10mg pharmacy canadian best drugstore eye makeup remover 2011 phexin to buy in england furosemide 40mg tablets what is depakote made of best drugstore powder foundation for acne prone skin side effects of hydrochlorothiazide diuretic amoxil from usa metoclopramide shortage 2012 online pharmacy no prescription needed cardizem chloromycetin over the couter how to order famvir actos with american express actos uk canada prescriptions plus fluoxetine medication dogs stilnox prospecto advair diskus coupons 500 50 buying cymbalta from canada levitra drugstore is there a generic drug for maxalt where can i order roxithromycin waheed alli contact buying doxycycline in bangkok buy fluconazole tablets shuddha guggulu dosage instructions weather vigra norway bad side effects of sibutramine free coupon for nizagara buy ventolin boots biaxin online pharmacies with out prescription where to buy levaquin with echeck amoxicillin online no prescription overnight delivery relafen 500 dosage lipitor online with out prescription zoloft no prrescription buy levitra online australia buy misoprostol online uk can i buy xanax over the counter in canada what is the correct dosage of lisinopril buy voltaren emulgel australia zantac women buy cheap kamagra oral jelly 100mg dapoxetine#md buy brand viagra canada topamax price walgreens zacharie brahmi indiana university how to order shatavari online buy indocin sr buy prednisolone acetate eye drops phone in order for methotrexate cheap nizoral cream diclofenac potassium order cytotec overnight ginseng pills for energy discount benemid mg sinequan with american express names of anti anxiety drugs buy hydrochlorothiazide line online alli chewable tablets review mail-order sinemet canadian pharmacy support team lynoral coupon code where can i buy diovan online without a prescription seroquel 100 mg tabletten periactin mg price where to buy premarin tablets levlen over counter why was pyridium discontinued in canada tadacip order online risperdal lawsuit texas buy prednisone greece how to make codeine syrup drink what is levothyroxine sodium 88 mcg buy clomid in usa can you buy diclofenac over the counter how to use promethazine pills what does alliteration do in a poem aleve cheap fincar for sale australia voltaren online australia buy acyclovir online no prescription switching from lexapro to zoloft pregnant what are the side effects of motilium tablets crestor uk cialis or viagra which is best compare viagra prices at major pharmacies doxycycline 50mg dosage for acne hyzaar 100 25 cost dudas redustat contiene orlistat efectos secundarios dramamine pregnancy drug class safe place order trandate neurontin retailers zestril 100mg list of tesco stores selling actoplus met old do you have buy birth control pills canada ordering cialis prescription lowest prices can you split micardis tablets what does eldepryl do nph insulin cipro 750 mg 14 tablet fiyat? buy proventil hfa get neurontin without prescription legal hydrochlorothiazide uk brand name generic from detrol lowest price moduretic buy cefixime with no prescription prilosec without script bulk buy lithium batteries advair diskus pill canadian cost of meclizine without insurance safe actoplus met buy uk version of carafate letrozole legal australia can get viagra boots canadian albenza tablet ordering celebrex canada buy original viagra in pakistan skelaxin discounts codes date for generic lexapro zithromax antibiotic without prescription mastercard n comprar pariet original amitriptyline and topiramate combination purchase viagra professional in australia buy levitra plus pills online precose prix en pharmacie en france cheap mobicam lowest purinethol order canada reglan drugs atorlip-5 delivery uk liquid viagra cocktail recipe carbozyne order canada get aciclovir toronto best place buy erexin-v pct authorized generic for lipitor diflucan order in the us bactrim ds side effects elderly over the counter valtrex equivalent omifin para hombres para que sirve tetracycline use in dogs is there a generic lipitor yet propranolol pills sweat buying abilify using paypal free or low cost fertomid ditropan prescription buy minocycline 100mg diltiazem hydrochloride suppliers india canadian online pharmacy phone number western drug revia side effects of flagyl cream how to take sarafem for pms buy nitroglycerin online with mastercard walmart 24 hour pharmacy columbus ohio aldactone dosage for ascites famciclovir price india nitrofurantoin mono mac 100mg caps reviews what drug classification is flagyl which uk site to buy fluoxetine motilium canada prescription antibiotic ciprofloxacin side effects can you buy generic norvasc blood order valtrex 1000 mg cialis professional order in the us online amoxil purchase canadian pharmacy ponstel adalat from usa pharmacy price increase tadalis sx arthritis uk research fairy tail requip magic periactin buy why vermox discontinued canadian council for drug education arimidex vs nolvadex vs clomid i pill oxytrol website wellbutrin sr side effects in men buy tamoxifen citrate nolvadex pharmacy how to buy viagra at tesco can you get addicted to robaxin amantadine hydrochloride for dogs order diarex canada cheap bentyl 100 mg where can i find elimite canadian pharmacy 24 hour review side effects of depakote medication buy desyrel 80 mg online purchase genuine viagra in canada can i order cephalexin no prescription in the usa elocon weight gain ortho tri-cyclen vs ortho tri-cyclen lo where can i buy diflucan pill order exelon pills aleve order in the us what is promethazine 25mg side effects pariet india no prescription hyperbole and a half allie brosh is myambutol legal in uk ordering cialis sublingual prescription tadalafil cheapest finasteride forum cheap minipress uk clonidine order on web cheapest ephedraxin to buy hydrochlorothiazide medication generic eurax perth australia side effects of percocet addiction adalat comprar does promethazine 25 mg tablets have codeine in it oral side effects of methotrexate ciplox daily use reviews chi ha usato il citalopram how to take cialis professional tegretol generic cost levitra plus with paypal payment lamisil on line alli weight control pills lexapro coming off dizzy cheap herbal viagra uk glucotrol xl generic reviews order effexor xr 150mg top 10 online dramamine sites diflucan 10 mg ml sumycin online overnight canadian association of pharmacy technicians (capt) sale tadalis sx what is ayurslim for domperidone 10mg tablets used
Home All Articles Inside the Numbers: A 6-Year Look at the Forbes Valuations

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 564 guests online

Atom RSS

Inside the Numbers: A 6-Year Look at the Forbes Valuations PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 14
PoorBest 
Articles & Opinion
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 27 April 2008 23:00
A Biz of Baseball Exclusive

Each year, Forbes magazine releases its valuation of the 30 clubs within Major League Baseball. And, each year, fans, analysts, and certainly owners, debate the figures with an intensity that might rival a Lou Pinella missed call meltdown. Owners, with some rare exceptions, will say that the valuations are a bunch of hooey (that’s putting it kindly). Of, course, when the numbers work in their favor, you can get someone like George Steinbrenner on record, as he did last year when he said, "I am gratified at the Forbes valuation of the Yankees. We are continuing to build a worldwide brand for the people of New York and Yankee fans everywhere."

Others, such as Marlins president David Samson, would say otherwise. "Every year I continue to be surprised at the absolute inaccuracy that a so-called reputable magazine is willing to print," Samson said after this year's valuations were released. As we will present, if David Samson thinks that the figures for the Marlins are way off, that doesn’t mean that the Marlins aren’t pulling in a decent profit; it just means that the figures may not be completely in-sync with their accounting methods.

How Forbes renders their figures is what differs from MLB’s. Asked why those within MLB continue to say that the Forbes valuations are off, senior editor, and co-author of the valuations Kurt Badenhausen offers up their methodology for the financial estimates of a private industry that guards their money matters vigorously.

“We have been doing this at Forbes for 11 years,” Badenhausen said. “We talk to teams, investment bankers, consultants and other baseball people to help estimate all revenue and expense items as well as the current values of the franchises. There are a lot of ways to calculate these numbers with various holding companies, media properties and other businesses.”

As a specific example on the how MLB’s figures and Forbes’ figures may differ, Bandernhausen cites one baseball’s more lucrative revenue streams: MLB Advanced Media, which includes MLB.com.

“We have MLB’s revenues at $5.5 billion for 2007,” adds Bandernhausen. “MLB says they are more like $6.075 billion, but they are including $450 million or so of MLBAM revenue (whereas each team only got $2 million last year) and from events like the All-Star game. We include non-baseball stadium revenues from things like concerts and other events for those teams that control their stadiums. On the other hand, we deduct interest payments on debt that teams incurred from building new stadiums. Those two things roughly offset each other. We only look at revenues and expenses that the teams incur and baseball has clearly never been healthier from a financial standpoint.”

Another example involves the Seattle Mariners.

As part of the agreement for public funding of Safeco Field, the Mariners are required to release a financial statement to the State of Washington. The Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District (PFD) owns Safeco, and their annual report shows that the Mariners made $17.8 million in profits.

Forbes lists the Mariners as posting operating income for 2007 at $10.1 million. Why the $7.1 million discrepancy?

“Our Mariners number is actually closer than the $7.7 million when you factor in depreciation, amortization, signing bonuses, non-ballpark expenditures and capital expenditures which we do,” explains Badenhausen. “I believe the number was closer to $15 million. Our operating income is an EBITDA number (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization). The $5 million difference is based on different revenue and expense calculations and estimates.”

So, it’s clear that how valuation figures are calculated can be different. Thus, it’s not wholly untrue that MLB’s figures differ from Forbes, but then, it’s a matter of how the sides are calculating figures. As former MLB COO Paul Beeston said infamously, "I can turn a $4 million profit into a $2 million loss and I can get every national accounting firm to agree with me."

With the differences, I’m not about to quibble with the amounts, per se. The following is more of a look in trends in the valuations within MLB. Looking at the data historically can show us which clubs are valuating upward more thanInside the Forbes Valuations inflation – a sign that ownership is working to maximize the value of the franchise, a new stadium has come online, paying down debt, or other activities that will increase the value of their holdings, on top of the growth that MLB in general is witnessing.

In some instances, when coupled with total player payroll figures, they can show holes in the revenue-sharing system. Overall, the most obvious news is owners are making money, and lots of it. Using the overblown cliché, they are hitting the ball out of the park. There may be disparity between the amounts of revenue clubs are pulling in, but no owner could claim with a straight face that they aren’t making money these days. It’s just that some clubs are making more than others are. As Badenhausen rightly said, “After listening to baseball owners cry poverty for 25 years, the outcries have been relatively few the last couple of years because baseball is in what like Bud Selig likes to call a ‘Golden Age’.”

Select Read More to see a detailed breakdown of the Forbes figures

Before we delve into the historical trends over the last six years, here are some details based around the annual research by Michael Ozanian and Kurt Badenhausen from this year’s valuations (see http://www.forbes.com/baseball/):

  • Total gross revenues for the 30 clubs has increased by 7.7 percent from last year to $5.5 billion (as opposed to the $6.075 billion reported by MLB)
  • The average team is now worth $472 million, 9.5 percent higher than last year and 143 percent more than when Forbes first calculated team values in 1998.
  • The increase in gross revenues has outpaced expenditures in player payroll. This year, 56 percent of revenues were spent on player payroll compared to 66 percent just five years ago.
  • Paid attendance continues to be a driving factor for the incredible increases for MLB. Within that, interleague continues to be exceptionally popular. Last year, interleague averaged 34,900 fans per game, 15 percent more than intraleague contests.
  • The Mets, currently ranked second with a value of $824 million, will also get a new stadium that should push their value close to $1 billion before long. Citigroup, beleaguered by the housing market meltdown, is still planning to pay the Amazins $400 million over 20 years for the stadium's naming rights.

Most Profitable Not Always the Most Valuable

As the thread worn cliché goes, you have to spend money to make money. But, in looking at the this year’s figures, you’ll find that in many cases, it’s not spending money that is allowing some teams that are cellar dwellers in the standings winning the profit game.

Using Forbes’ operating income figures, one measure of profitability, sees several unlikely clubs making more than their higher valued counterparts.

The most notable of these clubs are the Washington Nationals, and the Florida Marlins.

In terms of the Nationals, they are pulling profits based on a very good lease agreement, and new stadium, while in the midst of a rebuilding process with the roster. For the Marlins, it is a matter of setting the player payroll to levels that may redefine the word "stingy". The Marlins Opening Day payroll is at $20 million, a third less than what they spent on player payroll last year. To place it in perspective, that's $5 million less than what the club will receive in revenue-sharing, which is projected to be $25 million.

Below is the top 10 clubs by operating income for this year's Forbes valuations.

Forbes most profitable

 

Who's Making the Least, or "Losing" Money

A clear indication that MLB's financial state is extremely robust, five years ago the Forbes valuations showed 16 clubs with operating income in the red. This year sees 3 clubs, the Blue Jays ($1.8 million), Red Sox ($19.1 million), and Yankees ($47.3 million) posting "losses". In the case of the Yankees posting a considerable operating loss, it is due to their exceptionally high player payroll (a record $218.3 million), and dolling out the vast majority of all funds paid into revenue-sharing ($100 million).

Note, however, that "losses" are in quotes as all three of these clubs have significant stakes in Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) that contribute to their bottom lines, but skirt the edges of what is technically counted as club revenues. As reported by Ozanian and Badenhausen, "For the owners of the Yankees and Red Sox, the huge dividends they get from their unconsolidated cable networks more than make up for the teams' losses. Meanwhile Rogers Communications, which owns the Blue Jays, their stadium and the cable channel that televises its games, derives huge benefits from owning the Blue Jays not reflected on its team's [Profit & Lose] statement."

Below are the clubs showing the least amount of operating income, or in the case of the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Yankees, operating loss

 

Forbes least profitable

The Yankees Continue To Build an Empire

In the wake of the Red Sox winning two World Series championships in the last four years, some have said that the Red Sox, not the Yankees, are the new “Evil Empire.” While there is little discounting that the Red Sox are healthy in every respect financially, when compared to the Yankees, the Sox are still a distant second.

How far are they behind the Yankees? Consider the following: According to the Forbes valuations when accounting for inflation, the value of the Yankees in 2002 ($857,303,982.31) is greater than what the Red Sox are reported to be worth now ($816 million).

According to Ozanian and Badenhausen, “The Yankee brand (the portion of the team's value attributable to its name) alone is worth $241 million, almost as much as the entire Florida Marlins franchise.”

The value of the Yankees should hit $1.5 billion with the opening of new Yankee Stadium (see information on new Yankee Stadium here) in 2009.

Below shows how the Yankees value is compared to the Red Sox over the last six years (not adjusted for inflation)

Yankees Red Sox Valuations

Value of team based on values, such as current stadium deal (unless new stadium is pending) without deduction for debt (other than stadium debt).

An Angelic Rise in Value

In southern California, there are clear signs that in-part, private ownership has yielded better increases in value than under corporate ownership. Case in point, the incredible rise in value for the Angels.

Since Arte Moreno, the billboard advertiser magnate, purchased the club from the Walt Disney Co. in 2003 for $180 million, there has been a steady increase in the value of the club (see graph below, adjusted for inflation). While most all clubs have seen values increase above inflation, the Angels have climbed in value 48 percent during Moreno’s ownership tenure, when adjusting for inflation from approx $258.1 million to $500 million.

What has been amazing is that the Angels meteoric rise in value has come without a new stadium, or stadium related revenues such as new luxury suites. The Angels also have not seen lavish revenues from full or partial ownership of an RSN, such as the Red Sox or Yankees enjoy.

What Moreno has done is take lessons learned from his advertising background, and applied it to the Angels, most notably through the controversial renaming of the franchise to include the words “Los Angeles”, and gave Scouting and Player Development the flexibility to field competitive teams and sign key free agents.

"When Arte purchased the Angels, he did so with a short-term strategy and a long-term vision," said Angels spokesman, Tim Mead. "Located in the second biggest media market in the country, he emphasized we were a big-market club and would conduct ourselves accordingly."

Mead points out that Moreno's change in direction happened almost immediately.  With changes in branding of the color red, Angels Baseball, and the letter "A" that became focal points for the business side of the organization.   

"Our success is based on the fan experience at Angel Stadium, affordability of tickets, concessions and merchandising, as well as the expectations of our on-field product." 

The graph below outlines how the Angels have continued to climb in value by showing their ranking compared to the other 30 clubs since 2002.  

Angels Valuations

Below are the approx. values by way of Forbes, both non and inflation adjusted

Year
Rank
Value
Inflation Adj.
2002
23rd
$195M
$229,005,858
2003
20th
$225M
$258,044,462
2004
20th
$241M
$271,240,717
2005
17th
$294M
$320,320,585
2006
13th
$368M
$387,761,600
2007
13th
$431M
$431,000,000
2008
6th
$500M
$500,000,00

Are the Rockies Headed Back in the Right Direction?

There’s little denying that the surprise performance of last year’s season was the Colorado Rockies. Defying the odds, the team that hadn’t had a winning season since 2000, and was last seen in the playoffs in 1995, went all the way to the World Series last year before meeting up with the Red Sox and ending their Cinderella run.

The club was in need of the performance as the club has cycled down in value since being so successful after expanding into the league. At the end of March, the club renewed their naming rights deal with Coors Brewing for 10-years, and added in-stadium naming rights to two sections within the ballpark. The premium seats and lounge area behind home plate is now known as the Coors Clubhouse. The picnic area behind centerfield is called Coors Field Picnic Area. The financial terms were not released, but it is bound to continue pulling the Rockies out of their recent valuation slide.

How badly were the winning and naming rights deals needed? Looking at the 6-year set of Forbes data sees the Rockies as the club that has increased in value the least. In fact, the Yankees have increased in value 24 times as much as the team from Colorado.

While the raw figures show an increase in valuation from 2002 to 2008 for the Rockies, when adjusting for inflation, the Rockies are actually worth less today than in 2002 dollars (see image and graph below)

Forbes Rockies

Year
Value
Inflation Adj.
2002
$347M
$408M
2003
$304M
$349M
2004
$285M
$321M
2005
$290M
$316M
2006
$298M
$314M
2007
$317M
$317M
2008
$371M
$371

Bottom Feeders

South Florida has the dubious distinction of being home to not one, but two of the least valuable franchises over the course of the past six years. Both the Marlins and Rays have been in the bottom five in value every year, and to make matters worse, they have ranked at 29th or 30th more than any other clubs. The Marlins have been 29th or 30th three times (30th in 2007 and 2008, and 29th in 2003) while the Rays hold the “very bottom” rankings five times (30th in 2005 and 2006, and 29th in 2007 and 2008).

 The now Tampa Bay Rays (the word "Devil" has been removed, and a complete team rebranding has taken place with both uniforms and logos), have also set eyes on redeveloping Al Lang Field in downtown St. Petersburg. To offset costs, the land (85 acres) where Tropicana Field is located would be redeveloped as a major retail, entertainment, and housing development. (See renderings of the proposed open-air Rays facility and other details, like you see in the image to the right)

In the case of the Marlins, their value has remained low, in part, due to playing in Dolphin Stadium, a substandard facility, and one in which they do not control the revenue streams as former Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga owns the facility. That may change as the Marlins are close to landing funding for a retractable roof stadium on the site of the former Orange Bowl (see renderings of one proposed design). Nevertheless, one of the primary reasons that the Marlins continue slice margins by setting the aforementioned player payroll so exceedingly low. To place this in perspective, the largest increase in value occurred the year after the Marlins won the World Series in 2003. The value increased 26 percent the year after in 2004 but has since declined in each consecutive year.

See graph showing percent of change from the year prior for both the Marlins and Rays:

Year
Marlins
Rays
Value
% of Increase
From Year
Prior
Value
% of Increase
From Year
Prior
2002
$137M
N/A
$142M
1%
2003
$136M
-1%
$145M
2%
2004
$172M
26%
$152M
2%
2005
$206M
19%
$176M
16%
2006
$226M
10%
$209M
19%
2007
$244M
8%
$267M
28%
2008
$256M
5%
$290M
8%

Other Points of Interest

  • Unsurprisingly, the Yankees have been the most valuable of all the franchises during the course of the six years examined.
  • The Mets and Red Sox have jockeyed back and forth in the #2 ranking, with the Red Sox holding the distinction in consecutive years (2004-2006) and the Mets holding the honors in 2002-2003 and 2007-2008.
  • The largest increases in value from 2007 to 2008: Rockies (17%); Nationals, Angels and White Sox (16%); Brewers (15%); Indians, Tigers, and Twins (14%); and Rangers and Red Sox (13%)
  • Largest increase in value for a given year: 114 percent when the then MLB owned Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals were relocated to D.C. in 2005.
  • Largest figures for operating income over the six-year period: Washington Nationals ($43.7 million in 2008), Florida Marlins ($43.3 million, 2007 and $35.6 million in 2008), Cleveland Indians ($34.6 million in 2006) and Baltimore Orioles ($34 million in 2006)
  • Years by clubs reporting a loss by way of operating income (NOTE: Forbes’ 2003 figures shows more than half the league running at a loss): 2008 (3) – Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, 2007 (1) – Yankees, 2006 (5) – Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Marlins, Angels. 2005 (10) – Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Dodgers, Mariners, Cardinals, Angels, Rockies, D-Backs, Twins, 2004 (14) – Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Braves, Cardinals, Rangers, Phillies, D-Backs, Angels, Pirates, Marlins, Twins, Expos, 2003 (16) – Red Sox, Dodgers, Rangers, Indians, Astros, Cardinals, D-Backs, Phillies, Tigers, Angels, Pirates, Brewers, Blue Jays, Royals, Marlins, Expos, 2002 (10) – Red Sox, Dodgers, Indians, Rangers, D-Backs, Cardinals, White Sox, Blue Jays, Devil Rays, Expos
  • Largest reported figures for operating at a loss: Yankees (-$50 million in 2006, -$47.3 million in 2008, and $-37.1 million in 2005), Angels (-$30 million in 2005) and Dodgers ($-29.6 million in 2002)

League Averages, By Year

The following shows the average value, 1-year change, debt/value ratio, revenues, and operating income for the league by year of the study. 

League Avgs.: 2002 - 2008
Year
Value
1-Yr Value Change (%)
Debt/
Value
(%)
Rev
($mil)
Op Income ($mil)
2002
$286.3M
11
39.3
119.5
2.5
2003
$290.5M
3
N/A
N/A
-1.3
2004
$292.1M
8.24
43.1
129.3
-1.9
2005
$332M
14.5
39.7
142.3
4.42
2006
376.5
14.9
33.5
157.8
12.06
2007
431.5
14.8
35.2
170.4
16.52
2008
471.6
9.21
32.7
150.4
16.41

Conclusions

The obvious finding in looking at the Forbes figures is that all the clubs are in a healthy state these days. Valuations continue to climb, and fewer and fewer clubs are operating under what Forbes sees as operating loss.

What the figures also show is that often times, the clubs that have cried poverty in the past, or said that they would be unable to compete in the free agency market without considerable assistance by way of revenue-sharing, are, in fact, pulling in healthy profits.

And while one can shrug off that issue by saying all the clubs are making more money, there are signs that the most valuable are growing at a rate faster than their mid-to-low level counterparts. In other words, there is an increasing disparity in valuation.

That would make sense; larger market clubs such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, and White Sox should be in a position to increase their values by way of RSNs, more lucrative sponsorship deals, and increased brand recognition. The good news is that during Selig's tenure, the institution of revenue-sharing, and to a larger extent, the introduction of the Wild Card has allowed more parity in terms of the standings than ever before.

Finally, as mentioned at the outset, Forbes and MLB may come to different figures each year. However, it is clear that until MLB decides to open their books to the public, the Forbes valuations paint a clear picture in terms of trends in the industry. In 2008, when it comes to MLB, business is good.


References:

  • All data referenced, Forbes 
  • NOTE: Use the following link to see all data used for the historical references (2002-2008)
  • Revenues and operating income are for a given season and include revenue sharing.
  • "Value" - Value of team for a given year based on current stadium deal (unless new stadium is pending), without deduction for debt (other than stadium debt).
  • "% of Change" - Current team value compared with most recent transaction.
  • "Debt/Value" - Includes stadium debt.
  • "Operating Income" - earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation.
  • "N/A" - not applicable.

Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?