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Home Maury Brown Inside the 2010 Forbes MLB Franchise Valuations

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Inside the 2010 Forbes MLB Franchise Valuations PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 211
Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 08 April 2010 10:50

Late Weds., Forbes released its annual valuations of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams (see, reporting that the average team is now worth $491 million, a 2 percent increase from 2009. This despite a downturn in the economy, including a 6.58 percent attendance drop at ballparks last year, baseball franchises have reported record-high operating income, an average of $17.4 million per team. The League’s teams managed to earn their best-ever profits last year as two new stadiums in New York and long-term television deals boosted leaguewide revenues by 1.4% or $79 million. MLB reported record revenues of $6.6 billion for 2009. Forbes reports that total player costs dropped $25 million, marking only the second decline since 1995. The union for the players announced this week that the average salary for a player in Major League Baseball will be $3,340,133, a slight increase from 2009

The 2010 World Champion New York Yankees come out on top again this year, worth $1.6 billion while the Boston Red Sox trail the Yankees by $730 million and are ranked at #2, worth $870 million. Falling from their number two spot last year, the New York Mets round out the Top Three, worth $858 million.

In terms of revenues, the Yankees surpass all comers by pulling a staggering $441 million in revenue for 2009. By comparison, the #2 revenue maker, the Mets, pulled in $268 million, a difference of $173 million. The difference between the two was more revenue than 18 of the bottom clubs in the league pulled in. Contrast the Yankees with the Marlins, who at $144 million was the lowest in revenue for the league with the Pirates ($145 million), Royals ($155 million), and A’s ($155 million) rounding out the bottom.

But, don’t feel bad for the Marlins. In fact, according to Forbes, the Marlins aren’t suffering at all.

The annual report shows that the Marlins lead the league in operating income, a measure of profit. The club pulled in $46.1 million in operating income, $6.1 million more than the second place club, the Boston Red Sox. Other clubs that will see revenue sharing, have had low attendance, and poor showing in the standings, but see high profits include the Washington Nationals ($33.5 million), and San Diego Padres ($32.1 million). The Top 10 in operating income were the aforementioned Marlins, Red Sox, and Nationals, followed by the Dodgers, Padres, White Sox, Mets, Cubs, Twins, and Yankees. Two clubs saw operating losses this year. The Diamondbacks saw a slight loss (-0.6 percent), while the Detroit Tigers saw red ink flow to the tune of $29.5 million.

While in years past, the Marlins have been the most profitable by simply fielding talent on the cheap. Their stingy player payroll has allowed them to gain profit. This year, the Marlins will see player payroll increase, but Forbes sees the value of the Marlins as the top gainer from last year (15 percent). The change is due to their new stadium coming online in 2012. The other notable valuation increase from the year prior due to a new stadium is the Twins who go from $356 million in 2009 to $405 million in this year’s report, an increase of 14 percent.

Nine clubs see their value drop compared to last year; all in single digits. This compares to 9 clubs seeing club value decline in last year’s report, with two (the Nationals and Braves) seeing double-digit declines. The Blue Jays and Athletics see 8 percent drops followed by the Orioles and Mets (6 percent), Nationals (5 percent), Diamondbacks and Reds (3 percent), and Rays (1 percent). The St. Louis Cardinals were the only club to see their club value remain ostensibly flat compared to 2009’s report.

In terms of debt, Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan who are buying the Texas Rangers certainly won't like this... The Rangers rank #1 in Debt/Value ratio at $105 million. The Yankees rank #2 at $89 million, a distance of $16 million.

Back to the Yankees... the $1.6 billion value of the franchise is a 54 percent increase since 2002 when Forbes valued them at $730 million.







($ mil)





New York Yankees

George Steinbrenner






Boston Red Sox

J. Henry, T. Werner






New York Mets

Fred Wilpon






Los Angeles Dodgers

Frank McCourt






Chicago Cubs

Ricketts Family






Philadelphia Phillies

David Montgomery






Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Arturo Moreno






St. Louis Cardinals

William DeWitt Jr.






San Francisco Giants

William Neukom






Chicago White Sox

Jerry Reinsdorf










Source: Forbes

See the complete 2010 Forbes valuations, along with historical valuations dating back to 2010 (Historical Forbes Valuations 2002 to the Present)

Forbes Valuations
Select the image above to see Forbes valuations of the 30 clubs
in Major League Baseball dating from 2002 to the present

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