The 2017 Major League Baseball season has just begun, and business is looking good. Average operating profits for MLB teams in 2016 was up 52 percent compared to the year before while aggregate team revenue grew 7.5 percent to over $9 billion according to Forbes’ Baseball Team Valuations for 2017. The average value of MLB teams grew by a whopping 19%, to $1.54 billion compared to a year ago.
While teams are being bolstered by media deals, the league itself is profiting from tie ups with big brands. Recently, MLB struck a deal with Coca-Cola (CO) to replace PepsiCo (PEP) as the official sponsor. There are talks about MLB considering engaging with Facebook (FB) to live stream games and in December last year it signed a 10-year apparel contract with Under Armour (UA) for outfits for every player from every team. (See also: Under Armour’s MLB Deal Could Go Global.)
Here are the teams that score the highest on the valuation tables:
New York Yankees: $3.7 Billion
The Yanks recorded the second-highest attendance in American league last year despite fewer fans showing up to the games, and also garnered $526 in revenue, the most in the league, putting it in the top spot, according to Forbes. Valuation for the Yankees is up 9 percent compared to $3.4 billion in 2015. The team features in the sixth spot on the Forbes Sports Money Index, a ranking of teams, brands, athletes and agencies. That puts the team ahead of players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi but behind LeBron James and Real Madrid.
Los Angeles Dodgers: $2.75 Billion
The value for the Dodgers jumped 10% last year, from $2.5 billion in 2015. The team saw its revenues increase to $462 million, but operating income continued to be in the red as it has been for the past four years. The team is making a buzz on talks of a partial sale (10-15 percent) by Guggenheim Baseball Management that purchased the team in 2012 for $2.3 billion, according to Forbes.
Boston Red Sox: $2.7 Billion
Valuation for the Sox jumped 17 percent in the past year from $2.3 billion. While the good news for the team is the recent acquisition of pitcher Chris Sale, fans may be shelling out more to watch the games at Fenway Park this year as the team jacked up prices by 2.9% on average.
Chicago Cubs: $2.68 Billion
Last November, the Cubs won the World Series, ending a 108-year long drought and effectively ending the “Curse of the Billy Goat.” That powered their valuation, which is up 22 percent compared to $2.2 billion in 2015.
San Francisco Giants: $2.65 Billion
Another team with valuation increase in high teens to round up the top five. The Giants’ valuation increased 18 percent. The biggest contributor to this valuation at 42% is the revenue from the city and market size, followed by 24% from its stadium revenues and close to 20% from the revenue shared among all teams.