SBD/April 2, 2013/MLB Season Preview

Yankees Top Forbes' MLB Team Valuations For 16th Straight Year; A's Value Up 46%

The Yankees are the “most valuable baseball team for the 16th consecutive year,” worth $2.3B, a figure that also makes the club the “most valuable U.S. sports team,” according to Mike Ozanian of FORBES.com. As part of the deal that saw Fox buy a 49% stake in YES Network, the Yankees “got a new rights fee agreement” that will pay them $85M this year and increase annually to a payout of $350M in ‘42. Meanwhile, the Dodgers are the “second most valuable team,” worth $1.6B, and the value of the A’s “rose 46%, more than any other team,” to $468M. The average team now is worth $744M million, “23% more than a year ago and the largest increase” since Forbes began tracking MLB finances in ‘98. Values climbed “sharply despite falling profitability” because to “fully capture the value of MLB’s 30 teams it is necessary to keep score of the sport’s full portfolio of assets rather than just the cash-flow of the individual franchises.” Valuations were “boosted by the escalating television rights fees that flow to each team, and the climbing values" of MLBAM and the league’s investment fund (FORBES.com, 3/27).

'13 FORBES MLB TEAM VALUATIONS
CLUB
VALUE
1-YEAR % +/-
DEBT/VALUE
REVENUE
OPERATING
INCOME
Yankees
$2.3B
24%
2%
$471
$1.4
Dodgers
$1.6B
15%
26%
$245
$3.2
Red Sox
$1.3B
31%
18%
$336
$23.9
Cubs
$1.0B
14%
58%
$274
$32.1
Phillies
$893M
24%
20%
$279
$0.6
Mets
$811M
13%
53%
$232
-$2.4
Giants
$786M
22%
12%
$262
$17.6
Rangers
$764M
13%
48%
$239
-$8.7
Angels
$718M
9%
3%
$239
-$12.9
Cardinals
$716M
21%
38%
$239
$19.9
White Sox
$692M
15%
6%
$216
$22.9
Mariners
$644M
10%
0%
$215
$12.9
Tigers
$643M
35%
28%
$238
-$0.4
Nationals
$631M
31%
40%
$225
$28.4
Braves
$629M
24%
0%
$225
$12.4
Astros
$626M
14%
36%
$196
$24.7
Orioles
$618M
34%
24%
$206
$30.1
Padres
$600M
31%
50%
$189
$29.9
D'Backs
$584M
31%
24%
$195
$7.6
Twins
$578M
13%
17%
$214
$10.8
Blue Jays
$568M
38%
0%
$203
-$4.8
Brewers
$562M
25%
21%
$201
$9.0
Indians
$559M
36%
20%
$186
$22.9
Reds
$546M
29%
9%
$202
$20.9
Rockies
$537M
16%
13%
$199
$18.7
Marlins
$520M
16%
29%
$195
-$7.1
Pirates
$479M
43%
27%
$178
$26.8
A's
$468M
46%
19%
$173
$27.5
Royals
$457M
29%
11%
$169
$16.3
Rays
$451M
40%
26%
$167
$10.0

BUSINESS IS GOOD: ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell noted the Forbes valuations indicate that MLB’s off-the-field investments have “helped boost the average worth” of the 30 teams. The money teams made from the $450M sale of the Expos in ’06 was “invested in hedge funds that are now worth more than” $1B. Ozanian said, “The value of a team used to be about a team itself. Then it shifted to the stadium value and then to the television deals, and now it's more about what's not on the field at all.” Forbes “conservatively values” MLBAM at $6B (ESPN.com, 3/27).

GOING CLUBBING: In Minneapolis, Michael Rand wrote the valuation is a “mixed bag for the Twins.” The organization went from $510M to $578M -- an increase of 13% -- but because the average MLB team increased 23%, the Twins “went down in ranking in terms of overall value from 14th to 20th across MLB.” Twins President Dave St. Peter in an e-mail wrote the drop in ranking “is likely driven by a downward attendance trend for the Twins combined with a few new local television agreements around the league.” St. Peter added that the Twins “have not traditionally put much stock in the annual Forbes franchise valuation” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/28). In Miami, Douglas Hanks noted the Marlins increase in value “probably comes at an unwelcome time," as the team is "grappling with fan ire over owner Jeffrey Loria jettisoning star players after the team’s first season in a tax-funded ballpark” (MIAMI HERALD, 3/29). In Houston, Reid Laymance wrote teams “often don’t agree with Forbes’ math, but it is certainly another way to put in perspective the recent comments” by Astros Owner Jim Crane. Crane in February said that the team had “lost money for five consecutive seasons” (CHRON.com, 3/27).

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