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Forbes’ annual franchise valuations are out

Mar 23, 2011, 11:33 AM EDT

Hal Steinbrenner

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.

  1. BC - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    The Dodgers went up in value last year? How?

    • bigharold - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:38 PM

      They laid off McCourts kids, .. saved oddels of dough!

  2. ThatGuy - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Seriously, if the Steinbrenners ever decided to sell, could they even find an owner to buy the team at such a high value?

    • yankeesfanlen - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      If Rudy Guiliani had Mike Bloomberg’s money, yes.

    • kellyb9 - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:30 PM

      Yeah I could imagine getting bored with practically printing your own money.

    • bigharold - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:47 PM

      Maybe Bill Gates is looking for a new hobby? Perhaps Warren Buffett might want to relocate to New York?

      Strangely enough, thanks to the Bush Tax cuts, specifically elimination of the inheritance tax the Steinbrenner’s will not need to sell the team any time soon so it doesn’t really matter.

  3. bigharold - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    I knew once Harold (Hal) Steinbrenner started running the team things could only get better. Regardless of the endeavor you can never have enough Harold’s involved.

  4. BC - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    OK. The Yankees are worth approxmimately the GDP of Nicaragua. That’s obscene.

  5. guileless22 - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Speaking of Tom Hicks, he was forced to sell the Liverpool football/soccer club to John Henry. He cited the Forbes valuation of Liverpool, which was much higher than the sale price, as evidence that he was getting screwed on the deal. But the deal went through.

  6. paperlions - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    Value and how much you can sell something for are the same thing; regardless of the valuation, you can still only sell it for the amount being offered.

    • paperlions - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:07 PM

      Dang it….that should have said that value and potential sale price are *NOT* the same thing.

      • seeingwhatsticks - Mar 23, 2011 at 4:28 PM

        Which is why I think the Wilpons are in even bigger trouble than they think. With everyone knowing they have problems they aren’t likely to get close to the valuation of whatever share they end up selling, even if they sell the whole franchise. Negotiations on this level are about leverage and the Wilpons don’t have any.

  7. iranuke - Mar 23, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    I have a problem with people who use average when speaking of value. The average value is $523 milion, but the 15th most valuable team (there are after all 30 teams in MLB) is $449 milion and the 16th most valuable team is $417 million. Talking about lists like this, we should use the MEDIAN value, which will give a more accurate feel for the values involved. (this is especially true about salaries)

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