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 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.