secure viagra online voltaren gel for lower back pain cialis usp 25 mg prescription trazodone how long does it take for celexa to work take 50 mg clomid levitra 20 mg 5mg buy priligy online promethazine online zoloft digestive disorders lisinopril 10mg tablets glucophage 1000 mg merck sumycin reviews use phenamax coupon online strattera buyers ayurslim cost in canada bactrim order online glucophage medicine side effects differin online without rx l;occupazione allegra gli italiani in jugoslavia overdose nexium 40 mg pulmicort shop net can you buy micronase over the counter buy 500mg doxycycline celexa without insurance cost viagra 50mg or 25 there generic zovirax levitra bucodispersable 20 mg viagra online billigst monthly cost of orlistat synthroid generic brands cipla lexapro buy order elocon cream 0.5 order avodart online no prescription with a visa purchase generic tetracycline strattera 40 mg whats about cialis 5mg side effects of nitrofurantoin 1000 mg cipro intravenous chinese red ginseng capsules viagra 100mg pey lexapro generic 2012 prices levitra mg 10 bactrim online order zithromax 500mg sachet buy prednisone inderal perth australia cheap vegetal viagra prednisone 0.5 mg lexapro 20 mg wikipedia cheap generic clomid bentyl side effects gas eritromicina sandoz 200 mg prospect buy omeprazole nexium buy cheap antabuse pills what is amiodarone cordarone propranolol online order where can i purchase brand cialis is there a generic for synthroid online viagra australia over the counter medicine similar to viagra nymphomax tablets disgrasil 120 mgs celebrex celecoxib 200mg kamagra 100mg malay zestoretic spain over counter viagra cheap less generic allegra sams club clomid 300 mg day 1 finpecia with prescription januvia usa sale celebrex purchase online no prescription buy hyzaar order buy skelaxin generic propecia 5mg canada the online drugstore v-gel cialis 5 mg gerneric buy promethazine 80 mg online buy zoloft europe amantadine lawsuit canada white viagra 100mg zoloft dosage 75 mg esomeprazol nexium 20mg hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 mg qualitest propecia generic merck 10mg lexapro withdrawal zestoretic 40mg wellbutrin dose 75 mg where buy nolvadex can order benzac online anacin drug oversea cipro 400 mg iv buy amoxil quick cytotec buy uk levitra brand bayer lisinopril 20 mg generico buy cialis visa hydrochlorothiazide usp 25 mg fluoxetine capsules 40 mg cheapest viagra philippine lasix generic drug best pharmacy to order provera online viagra japan desi tashan star plus pratigya zovirax 400 mg precio walmart pharmacy ventolin buy 2.5 mg levitra zithromax buy chlamydia post cycle therapy benicar levitra 10 mg cost viramune to buy in england amantadine generic cost 120 mg viagra clomid ovulation cycle where can i order sumycin synthroid 0.025 mg brand name kytril online erythromycin 500mg uses levitra online buy paypal buy viagra where can i order retin a that ship to south africa augmentin 1000 mg kullananlar lisinopril 2.5 mg e25 red kooga korean ginseng tablets viagra lowest price alesse mail order ampicillin uses for dogs acheter flomax zofran annual sales fosamax banned in usa cheapest viagra pills xenical generic available cialis 5mg apotheke buy viagra paysafe prednisone 20 mg asthma viagra generico brasil clomid ordering buy 5 mg levitra generic of metformin nexium 50mg price cb1 weight gain kamagra 100mg buy generic cialis soft viagra 100mg red viagra 25 mg alcohol zovirax vs generic online canadian drugshop com septilin online uk when did generic skelaxin become available cardura side effects long term use viagra generico pfizer valtrex generic available viagra 100mg pfizer actos medicine coupons farmacia cialis generico cialis 10 mg coupon buy robaxin visa cozaar medication online viagra online malta propranolol 80 mg mr fungsi metformin 500 mg price lisinopril 2.5 mg http //www.cipla field call.com/ tall cialis 20 mg diet pill alli side effects tadalis sx limited india buy viagra using paypal propranolol 80 mg er lasix 40 mg contraindicaciones northstar rx propranolol cost of depo medrol injection 400 mg of wellbutrin buy clomid in mexico zyban refills buy nexium mexico metformin actavis 1000 mg micardis online pharmacy uk bupron sr cheap affiliate generic viagra buy exelon fast shipping amoxil 250 mg image how long does it take for lexapro to fully work nexium generic launch ordering brand levitra online pill store broad spectrum antibiotics for chest infection viagra online australia buy viagra online 22 222 periactin shoppers drug mart buy phenamax bulk kaufen cialis 20 mg buy premarin discount 100 mg synthroid xenical 120 mg gunanya comprar luvox 100 mg cheaper than cialis phenamax in croatia what is arjuna drugs cheap metformin buy online lisinopril 10 mg pricing 500mg zithromax chlamydia swiss legend trimix diver drug market order diclofenac gel buy kamagra jelly cheap generic viagra 5mg cialis work generic levitra thailand eutirox efectos secundarios en perros 50 vs 100mg zoloft levitra buy line generic viagra tadalafil lisinopril 2.5mg tablets generic of wellbutrin generic cialis us levitra brand cheap propecia viagra online best ed drugs review generic motilium pills harga levitra 5 mg metformin denk 500 mg where to buy cheap generic female cialis valtrex medication side effects arava retail price viagra buy birmingham where to buy cialis online forum cipro online europe prednisone withdrawal 50 mg where to buy prednisone without a perscription in the us tetracycline hcl 250mg buy levitra thailand generic wellbutrin xl 300 augmentin spain over counter 150 mg diflucan alcohol costo viagra generico is it safe to order pilex viagra online india buy liposafe usa metformin hydrochloride 850mg online zovirax buy proscar 5mg without prescription discount viagra 150 mg cialis ships from india cheapest 100mg viagra buy abana cheap drugstore safe 100mg viagra xenical information online buying flonase for dogs the purple pharmacy los algodones brand ditropan for sale cheapest cialis suppliers zoloft 150 mg tablet comprar kamagra 100 mg viagra stocking buying citalopram celexa generic bronchitis 10mg prednisone can i make luvox 10mg of cialis kamagra 100 mg upustvo 200 mg wellbutrin sr trazodone sleep desyrel medication zoloft 50 mg tablet valtrex authorized generic buy 1 single viagra nice guidelines donepezil viagra para la mujer natural best drugstore mineral foundation for dry skin generic cialis valid dapoxetine 30mg tab pamelor side effects in women side effects of lamictal overdose levitra 5mg erfahrungsberichte colchicine patient co uk zyprexa overdose fatal comprar oxytrol original viagra 10 mg enough lisinopril 10 mg watson celebrex de 200 mg buy rocaltrol tablets online is brand amoxil a prescription drug generic citalopram overnite shipping order propecia generic 50 mg zoloft anxiety clomid round 3 50mg ordering ampicillin all rights aarp rx mail order form levitra super generic valtrex 1000mg price cost of robaxin-750 legal buy actoplus met online canada buy Cialis 120 Tabs doryx side effects acne cialis 0 5 mg aspirin shelf life cheap real viagra nexium 10 mg online buy viagra propecia order australia cymbalta brand order viagra generico germed le clomid 50mg purchase generic viagra viagra 100mg tabs metformin hydrochloride tablets 500 mg diclofenac stada 100mg retard filmtabletta cialis online argentina drug market order triamterene yasmin birth control pills review buy wellbutrin 100mg original cialis 200 mg diflucan 150 mg wiki does costco sell nizoral olanzapine and alcohol dog prednisone online doxycycline online order bactroban overnight shipping cheap cialis online ontario toprol xl billig kaufen order viagra spain nexium 20 mg valor cialis generic romania ginseng echeck wellbutrin 300 mg price order misoprostol online no prescription lexapro 5 mg day levitra 10mg pills viagra 200mg cheapest doxazosin mist canada overnight levitra orders will plavix make you gain weight what is the shelf life of augmentin pills strattera 10 mg fiyat buying cleocin gel best drugstore mascara of 2012 viagra 100mg egypt cialis hungary buy what drug category is lynoral cialis brand cheap cheapest cialis 10 mg. order prazosin online cheap cialis 5 mg what countries can you buy viagra over the counter uk genericky cialis allopurinol online in us acquisto benzac sicuro online imitrex 10 mg generic chinese viagra zithromax 500 mg isi 3 cheapest online propecia aciphex order on web methotrexate mail order cialis 5 mg 28 cpr cialis 0.25mg paxil generic canada lanoxin to buy from europe doxycycline 100mg effects buy levitra soft 70 mg lexapro online lexapro generic toprol xl available lamisil comprimidos efectos secundarios sale ephedraxin liquid nolvadex online buy cialis in concentracion plasmatica dostinex buy kamagra leeds customer care lexapro buy viagra ranbaxy zoloft 25 mg tabs 40mg levitra online lexapro generic release 2012 buy canadian finasteride 1 mg levitra 10 mg tab cialis 20mg almanya metformin 1000 mg z71 apcalis sx oral jelly generic lexapro rash zoloft 150 mg die buy 25mg clomid clomid and pain medication generic viagra london augmentin or ceftin for sinus infection doxycycline 75mg valtrex 500 mg daily buy toradol 100mg online prednisone 5mg dog order Cialis sachets cabgolin women buy 80 mgs of lasix comprar zithromax espan~a what does generic allegra look like kjop viagra online what does topamax pill look like prednisone 40 mg dosage clomid cycle 2 100 mg viagra buy nz how much is femara tablets lisinopril 40 mg prices tetracycline uk pharmacy medication hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg avalide prices cvs cleocin drug classification levitra 20mg 2 tablets buy cipro france online lady era purchase generic viagra report 20 mg cialis break cheap cialis.ca female cialis buy uk cipro 750 generic cialis 20mg everyday canadian district health authority lisinopril 40 mg tabl buy venlor mg online how to get propecia prescription? generic levitra 20 mg buy zithromax pharmacy clotrimazole and betamethasone dipropionate cream usp 1 /0.05 uses 2009 lexus rx 350 reviews canada cialis 20mg nz genericos viagra metformin 1000 mg ratiopharm wellbutrin xl 300 mg prices how to buy noroxin in london india triamterene price air max 1 leopard black online generic lanoxin generic viagra online buy premarin with visa digoxin side effects weight gain purchase neurontin cheap trazodone from courier cheap order acetazolamide online valtrex comprare accutane birth defects years later cialis 10mg buy prevacid class action lawsuit does abilify cause weight gain or loss vasotec dosage hypertension generic diclofenac overnight delivery cialis online .de half price celadrin accutane no prescription needed approved lisinopril 25mg. doxycycline succinate 25mg valtrex price walgreens valtrex 500 mg generico valtrex generic bactrim forte 480 mg propecia cheap forum buy online no prescription brand levitra celebrex 200 mg infarmed kamagra 100mg sildenafil discount canadian pharmacy tamoxifen how long does clonidine take to work for anxiety jaguar 100 mg viagra buy vasodilan no prescription generic advair diskus international buy zanaflex paypal accepted zestril generic lisinopril generic augmentin dosage buy allegra d canada strattera 120 mg high why is there a shortage of prednisone prilosec over counter medication buy viagra algodones generic nolvadex pct altace 40mg buy adalat in australia zoloft sale online drug sales legal levitra odt 20mg buy nexium esomeprazole 320 mg propranolol cialis online store generic viagra 100 white clomid 50mg tweeling where micardis viagra jellies cheap can you buy propecia uk buy alli cheap uk bulk drug sales jobs fabrica voltaren diovan retino ac gel use adalat from usa pharmacy where does ginseng grow levitra 10mg dosage costo zoloft 100 mg buy augmentin uk clomid comprare cialis two 5 mg does celebrex generic can order albenza online price increase floxin buy propecia more watson 540 blue oval pill pic synthroid without rx augmentin 625 mg davkovanie buy trileptal 5 buy sominex with e check clomid 50mg usa periactin sale uk purchasing cordarone online uk
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 502 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?