Friday, March 23, 2012

Baseball Valuations Soar

Let's pretend for the time being that Forbes doesn't just stick their finger in the air and make up these valuations (an M&A professor of mine in business school shared that teams have a lot of influence in the Forbes' valuations, hence it shouldn't be a surprise that the Dodgers valuation is a whopping 75% higher than last year when the owner would have preferred a lower valuation while going through a divorce and higher valuation this year when selling the team).

To Forbes:
The average Major League Baseball team rose 16% in value during the past year, to an all-time high of $605 million. In 2011, revenue (net of payments to cover stadium debt) for the league’s 30 teams climbed to an average of $212 million, a 3.4% gain over the previous season. But operating income (in the sense of earnings before non-cash charges and interest expenses) fell 13%, to an average of $14 million in part due to a 5.1% increase in player costs (including benefits and signing bonuses for amateurs), to $3.5 billion in 2011.

But that's not where the money is. It's all in the regional sports networks "RSN's":
The Rolls-Royce of the RSN model is the New York Yankees, who own 34% of the YES Network. The Bronx Bombers are the most valuable team in baseball, worth $1.85 billion, tying them with the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys for the top spot among American sports teams and placing them second in the world to Manchester United, the English soccer team worth $1.9 billion. YES generated a staggering $224 million in operating income and paid the Yankees a $90 million rights fee in 2011.
So... teams earn an average $14 million each from baseball operations, while the Yankees earn $90 million just from their TV network. Which explains how the Evil Empire (i.e. the Yankees) can blow a seemingly unlimited amount of money on players, while the Mets (one of two teams that actually lost value in 2011) shed payroll because their owner got ripped off by Mr. Bernie Madoff (full disclosure if not already obvious... I am a bitter Mets fan).

Source: Forbes


  1. But your bitterness must be somewhat assuaged by the acquisition of Tebow. It might be another lost season for the Mets but surely with a plethora of quarterbacks the Jets are a lock for the Super Bowl.