Good article at Forbes.com on baseball's most valuable teams. Topping the list are the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers and Mets. The latter two teams are facing debt pressures (Mets owe creditors $450 million) and legal issues (Dodger owner involved in messy divorce). The gap between the Yankees and the number 2 team in value is significant and growing.
Some of the key points from the article:
1) The average MLB franchise is now worth $523 million, an all-time high and 7% more than last year.
2) All of the league’s teams rose in value except for three: the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians.
3) The gap between the Yankees and No. 2 Baltimore in 1998 was 12%. Today the Yankees are 86% more valuable than No. 2 Boston.
4) Texas Rangers are up 25% to $561 million after it was acquired from Tom Hicks in a bankruptcy court auction. The team now is much better capitalized, with an infusion of $225 million of equity, and has a better TV deal worth $1.5 billion over 20 years. As well, the "afterglow of the team’s first World Series appearance in October will also boost sponsorship and ticket revenues this year."
5) Attendance was at 73 million, 6th all time for MLB.
6) The most profitable team was the Padres, which had an operating income of $37 million in 2010.
7) "The Padres managed to post a 90-72 record despite a payroll of just $38 million, which was the lowest in baseball. The Padres also benefited from a revenue-sharing check of more than $30 million."
8) "Problems among big-market teams caused baseball’s revenue-sharing pool to shrink last season for the first time since the new sharing system was put in place in 2002. Low-revenue teams divvied up $404 million compared to $433 million in 2009, with the Yankees writing the biggest check of $119 million. The Mets’ revenue is expected to fall further in 2011, which could dent revenue-sharing even more."