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Inside the 2012 Forbes MLB Franchise Valuations PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 14:07

Bud Selig has said that this is the golden age of baseball. What he might mean is it’s the golden age of the television deal for MLB.

According to their annual report (see www.forbes.com/mlb), Forbes reports that the average value of the 30 clubs in Major League Baseball has increased 16 percent from last year and is now a record $605 million due mostly to local television deals inked by the Rangers, Angels, Astros, and soon to be, Dodgers.All told, Forbes reports that MLB teams earned $984 million from local television rights

And, it’s the impending deal for the Dodgers that will drive a record sale for a North American sports franchise, surpassing the $1.1 billion that the Miami Dolphins were purchased for by Stephen Ross. Forbes is targeting the Dodgers at a worth of $1.4 billon, a staggering 75 percent increase from last year when they were valued at $800 million. And, that price may not be where the Dodger sale lands. According to reports, a group led by LA Laker legend Magic Johnson has a bid in at $1.6 billion. The Dodgers, who were ranked third last year behind the Red Sox and Yankees, vault past Boston this year and are only behind the Yankees who see a 9 percent increase to $1.85 billion. According to co-author Mike Ozanian in his overview, “In 2011, revenue (net of payments to cover stadium debt) for the league’s 30 teams climbed to an average of $212 million, a 3.4% gain over the previous season. But operating income (in the sense of earnings before non-cash charges and interest expenses) fell 13%, to an average of $14 million in part due to a 5.1% increase in player costs (including benefits and signing bonuses for amateurs), to $3.5 billion in 2011.”

With their new stadium and renaming to “Miami” the Marlins see an increase of 25 percent and nearly crack the Top 20 in terms of value (they land at #21). Something that is bound to make those that are funneling money to takers of the revenue-sharing system, smile. Miami is shown with just $8.9 million in operating income compared to $20.2 million last year and $46.1 million the year prior to that. All told, 12 clubs are shown with operating income above $20 million with four of them (Indians, Rays, Blue Jays, and Royals) ranking in the bottom 5 of total value.

So, if the Marlins aren’t the biggest winners in terms of operating income, who is? Surprisingly this year, it’s the Cleveland Indians. While the club ranks 26 in terms club value (they saw overall value increase 16 percent to $410 million), operating income came in at $30.1 million followed by the Royals ($28.5 million), Cubs ($28.1 million), D-backs ($27.2 million) and Rays ($26.2 million)

On the downside, the cratering of attendance and the cloud that hung over the Mets until only Monday with the Madoff Ponzi scandal has taken a big divet out of club. The Mets see a 4 percent decline from last year to $719 million and according to Forbes, posted $40.8 million in operating losses, the largest decline in losses of any of the clubs.The losses have the Mets dropping from being valued #5 in 2011 to #6 this year. The only other clubs to post operating losses were the Angels ($1.2 million) and Phillies ($11.6 million)

All told, only two clubs (Mets and Rays) saw club values decline. Both of which are tied to faring poorly in the paid attendance department.

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE THE FORBES VALUATIONS FOR THE 30 CLUBS IN MLB

Here are the 30 clubs as ranked by Fobes (data for 2011 season)

Rk

Team

Current Value
 ($mil)

1-Yr Value
Change (%)

Debt/Value
(%)

Rev
($mil)

Op Income
($mil)

1

New York Yankees

1,850

9

2

439

10

2

Los Angeles Dodgers

1,400

75

41

230

1.2

3

Boston Red Sox

1,000

10

24

310

25.4

4

Chicago Cubs

879

14

66

266

28.1

5

Philadelphia Phillies

723

19

24

249

-11.6

6

New York Mets

719

-4

69

225

-40.8

7

Texas Rangers

674

20

55

233

15.3

8

LA Angels

656

18

3

226

-1.2

9

San Francisco Giants

643

14

16

230

8.8

10

Chicago White Sox

600

14

7

214

10.7

11

St Louis Cardinals

591

14

47

233

25

12

Seattle Mariners

585

30

0

210

2.2

13

Houston Astros

549

16

41

196

24.3

14

Minnesota Twins

510

4

20

213

16.6

15

Atlanta Braves

508

5

0

203

20.7

16

Washington Nationals

480

15

52

200

25.9

17

Detroit Tigers

478

24

39

217

8.2

18

Colorado Rockies

464

12

15

193

14.4

19

Baltimore Orioles

460

12

33

179

12.9

20

San Diego Padres

458

13

44

163

23.2

21

Miami Marlins

450

25

32

148

8.9

22

Milwaukee Brewers

448

19

27

195

19.2

23

Arizona D-Backs

447

13

39

186

27.2

24

Cincinnati Reds

424

13

10

185

17.1

25

Toronto Blue Jays

413

23

0

188

24.9

26

Cleveland Indians

410

16

27

178

30.1

27

Kansas City Royals

354

1

14

161

28.5

28

Pittsburgh Pirates

336

11

38

168

15.9

29

Tampa Bay Rays

323

-2

36

161

26.2

30

Oakland Athletics

321

5

28

160

14.6

 

Source: Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/mlb)


Maury BrownMaury 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 writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He 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 (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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