A new report from Forbes found Major League Baseball teams are generating record operating incomes, and new media and digital streaming deals could keep those revenues rolling in over the next few seasons.
On average, MLB clubs saw revenues increase by nearly 5 percent last season to $330 million for each of the League’s 30 teams. Those earnings represent a 38 percent increase in average profits, from $29 million to $40 million.
Part of the bump came from player costs remaining flat at $157 million, however new media deals with the likes of streaming platform DAZN are also putting a little extra coin in team’s coffers.
Those stats led most franchises to go up in value by 8 percent, with the average team value hitting $1.78 billion. The New York Yankees top the league with a $4.6 billion franchise value, nearly half again higher than the LA Dodgers, which came in second at $3.3 billion.
Florida’s two MLB franchises — the Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays — are all the way down at the bottom, clocking in at $1 billion apiece.
The two teams aren’t that behind the pack, though. The Kansas City Royals are only worth about $25 million more while half the teams in the league are worth $1.5 billion or less
On the whole, the Rays are in a decent position 20 years in.
“The good news for the Rays is they have a come to terms with Fox Sports for a new local cable deal beginning with the 2019 season. The Rays will get close to $35 mil in 2018, the last year of current deal. The new 15-year deal is worth an average of $87 mil a year, including the team’s one-third equity stake in the RSN. The rights fee to the team will average more than $50 million a year,” the detailed breakdown said.
“The bad news? The Rays failed to strike a deal for a new ballpark in downtown Tampa Bay and appear stuck at Tropicana Field, the worst ballpark in MLB, indefinitely. In February, the Rays announced a new series of capital improvements and renovations for Tropicana Field, featuring a reduction of seating capacity to roughly 25,000 from nearly 37,000.”
The Marlins’ outlook wasn’t near as bright. The team is nearing a decade of losing seasons and they haven’t made the playoffs since they won it all in 2003. The team is also dead last in attendance and it’s TV ratings aren’t too encouraging, either.
Forbes’ valuation shows the biggest gap between Florida’s clubs and their higher-valued peers are in the stadium and brand segments, not sports — in that segment of the market, the two teams are fairly competitive, with the Marlins weighing in at $676 million and the Rays hitting $566 million.
The Yankees, by comparison, are valued at $632 million in that segment.
Still, the Marlins are only reeling in about $12 per fan, earning them the rock-bottom spot by a mile in that metric. The Colorado Rockies, added to the MLB the same year as the Marlins, earn $63 per fan.
At $33 per fan, the Rays aren’t killing it, but they’re outpacing franchises such as the New York Mets ($24), Toronto Blue Jays ($28) and Texas Rangers ($32).
San Francisco paced the measure with a whopping $183 per Giants fan.