A’s franchise value plummets

Like clockwork, Forbes is out with their new franchise valuations as part of their annual “The Business of Baseball” analysis. The biggest losers? The Toronto Blue Jays and your Oakland Athletics. Both teams saw a drop of 8% from 2009 valuations. While the Jays’ drop can be attributed to immense costcutting, the A’s got a more broad-ranging set of indictments:

The Oakland A’s franchise continued to get hammered last season. In 2009 the team posted its third-straight losing season, winning only 75 games. Attendance collapsed to 1.4 million at McAfee Coliseum, an embarrassing average of just 17,392 per game, worst in baseball. All attempts to find a new ballpark have failed. According to Baseball Prospectus, the Athletics have seen $54 million worth of players salaries go down the drain over the past three years due to injuries, most of it because GM Billy Beane overpaid for Eric Chavez, the always hurt third baseman. Further proof that the team’s brand has been greatly diminished since the glory years of Moneyball was the 0.82 rating the A’s generated in 2009 on CSN California, the regional sports network that carries their games, down 53% from 2008 when the games were shown on another network.

Those guys at Forbes don’t pull punches, do they? They make it sound like the A’s are in some sort of death spiral, when in reality there are plenty of good things around the corner – both on and off the field. The A’s new valuation is $295 million (29th in MLB), putting them at 2007 or pre-recession levels. Sure, MLB and the A’s will grumble and complain that the numbers are inaccurate if asked. Still, when teams get sold it’s remarkable how close the actual sales prices are to recent valuations, so take whatever the officials say with a grain of salt.

In any case, it’s not like the team is getting sold anytime soon, so the 2010 valuation doesn’t really matter much other than to highlight that the A’s are seriously underperforming from a revenue standpoint.

10 thoughts on “A’s franchise value plummets

  1. If Chavy didn’t have injuries and continued to put up 30HR gold glove seasons, he would be underpaid. Tough break there. As far as the 295 million value, it’s a hit Wolff and company are willing to take. They still have over 100 million dollars equity and he’s making money every year, even if they wanted to sell they’d be fine.

    • Chavy was not injured when the contract was signed. So did Beane overpay, or is Chavy underperforming?
      Forbes paints the CSN California thing as bad, when I think it’s great that the A’s won’t have to compete for airtime and be relgated to CSN+ when on at the same time as the Giants. Over time, CNSCA will be put into more homes, especially when the team starts drawing more people and the complaints roll in. Another plus for CSNCA? It’s not owned by the Giants.
      The standings are really based on a snapshot at a specific time. I can’t wait to see the A’s number make huge jumps over the next five years.

      • For me as a fan, the A’s moving to CSNCA has been a mixed bag. While I think it’s great that they’re no longer of the Giants-owned sport station, it has sort of been a pain finding CSNCA on the dial. During the week, I’m either in 1 of 3 places but I’d like to catch the A’s whever I am. It’s sometimes a little bit of an adventure finding CSNCA on the dial when you’re switching betweem 2 types of Comcast cable and Dish Network. I’ll always eventually find it, but I can’t be the only one with that problem. I’m not surprised their TV ratings dipped– and I don’t entirely attribute it to their on-the-field performance.

      • I view the TV Ratings dive to the channel move.

        Casual baseball fans want to find Baseball. The A’s are moved to a part of the lineup where you can not watch them with out a DTA top box, and with out searching for them. Meanwhile, the Giants are were they’ve always been, you did not need a top box to see them at the time, and they were next to all the other sports channels.

        Now that everyone needs a DTA period, and the A’s are now right next to CSNBA and ESPN like they should have been, ratings will likely rise back up, though perhaps not as good as they were before. Next year, with the team projected to be much better, and a year on a stable channel number, ratings will rise.

    • Here, here on the Chavez thing. If dudes arm didn’t fall off, back didn’t break, etc… He would be a steal at his current salary.

  2. It’ll be interesting to revisit this assessment in 10 years. I’m not sure how useful Forbes’ evaluation is since any prospective A’s investor would definitely be aware of any progress (or lack of) on the ballpark front. The same goes for their on-field performance.

    On a side note, any predictions on the A’s attendance this season? I they’ll essentially match the ’09 total attendance with a weak start but finishing strong.

  3. In researching the Orioles/Nats media market deal brokered by MLB I found that the guaranteed franchise value and guaranteed revenues that the Orioles got from the league were not that far off of what Forbes listed. The Orioles franchise value was, if I remember correctly, 20% below the guarantee per Forbes. In my own mind, I attributed that 20% as MLB insuring future appreciation.

  4. re: most of it because GM Billy Beane overpaid for Eric Chavez,

    When Chavez got that contract, he was a top-hitting, consistently Gold Glove-winning 3rd baseman. Perhaps Beane should have asked Forbes to borrow its crystal ball so Beene could have known the injuries that were about to beset Chavez.

  5. Cant make money playing baseball – – let’s try the property development front – – –
    Restaraurants, condo’s, shops – – – oh and a stadium, you know, for those guys to play in and earn Major League salaries while delivering Minor League performances – – –

    Something is upside down here. We have an underperforming team playing in a stadium that, at least offers excellent mass transit accessibility, excellent access to freeways and possessing all of the other basics necessary to play a game of ball – – – but, (accoring to Lou-baby) there’s something so wrong with these current facilities, that we *have* to relocate – – – we *have* to move – because this one just isn’t “acceptable” any more ????

    If “suitability” were any rationalization for making a change – it seems like we’d start at the top of the A’s roster, before tackling a new stadium !

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