Los Angeles Dodgers

Taking a look at the 2012 Forbes MLB valuations

Earlier today Forbes released their annual estimates of the financial situations for each Major League Baseball franchise. As a number-crunching baseball nerd, this is one of the days on the calendar I look forward to all year long.

Here are the highlights from around the league:

— The Los Angeles Dodgers saw their valuation take the biggest jump. In 2011 they were valued at $800 million and this year jumped up $600 million to join the Yankees and Red Sox in the billion dollar-plus club. After this team gets auctioned off I imagine they’ll be serious spenders down the road in free agency. Watch out, NL West.

— On the flip side the Mets took the biggest tumble, losing $28 million in value. All told they are down $192 million from their 2009 peak.

— The median team gained $61 million in value, bringing overall median team value to just under $500 million. With over $6.3 billion in revenues among the teams and over $400 million in income, I think it is safe to say that baseball is pretty healthy.

Now let’s take a closer look at the local teams.

The revenue for the Giants, A's and Median MLB Team

The Giants ranked 9th in total value, dropping two spots from last year even though they saw their value increase by $80 million. The drop in position was due to the big gains by the Rangers and Angels, who signed massive TV contracts.

The Giants’ revenue held steady at $230 million even without a return to the playoffs, and with a higher payroll, operating income fell from just under $30 million to an estimated $8.8 million.

The A’s, like the Giants, fell in the rankings moving from 29th to 30th place with the value of the team increasing by $14 million. The stadium limbo seems to be holding back the team’s valuation; a best-case scenario for the team would be what has happened with the Twins, who were likewise  stuck in a bad stadium situation and are now among the middle of the pack in terms of revenue and valuation.

Revenue for the A’s stayed roughly the same at $160 million while income declined from $23 million to $14 million. The A’s were much more efficient in turning revenue into income with an operating margin of 9.13% compared to 3.83% for the Giants, so at least they have that to brag about.

One final thought … if the A’s decided to give up on their plans to move to the South Bay and instead moved to another city, the Giants could potentially become a revenue powerhouse. Some hypothetical — if the Giants could procure 25 percent of Oakland’s current revenue, they move from 8th to 3rd-highest in baseball. If they’re able to grab 50 percent of the Athletic’ revenue they would be tied with the Red Sox for 2nd-highest in baseball.

All the more reason for the Giants to fight the move to San Jose tooth and nail, I guess.

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