Mar 23, 2011, 11:33 AM EST
Sticking with Forbes, we link for your pleasure its annual list of baseball franchise valuations. You’ll be shocked to learn that the continued uncertainty at backup catcher and fifth starter has not negatively impacted the value of the New York Yankees. They’re still number one. When you combine the team’s revenues with it’s interest in the YES Network and its Legends Management arm which manages the ballpark, the Yankees — as an overall enterprise, not just the team itself — are worth an astounding $5.1 billion. Yeah, I think they’ll be able to keep Sabathia if he opts out of his contract this fall.
But it’s not just the Yankees. Overall, the state of franchise valuation is strong:
The average MLB franchise is now worth $523 million, an all-time high and 7% more than last year. All of the league’s teams rose in value except for three: the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians. The increase in team values is the result of greater revenue for teams playing in new stadiums, like the New York Yankees (up 6% in value to $1.7 billion) and Minnesota Twins (up 21% to $491 million) as well as the Florida Marlins (up 13% to $360 million), who are scheduled to move into their new stadium in 2012.
And I would presume that the Mets valuation will slingshot back up if and when the team is sold to more solvent ownership.
People always wonder why someone would want to buy a Major League team given the big salary obligations and, for many teams anyway, the lowish annual revenues. The answer is appreciation of the asset which — in addition to being an ego-gratifying little jewel to own — happens to appreciate at a nice steady rate even during economic downturns.
Franchise appreciation and subsequent sale is where the real money is. Unless you’re in Cleveland and San Diego, anyway. And unless you have franchise crippling debt.