Forbes came out with their annual overview of The Business of Baseball, and if you’ve followed this site or other sports economics sites much you won’t be surprised by the results. The A’s, stuck in limbo, have the lowest valuation of any of the 30 MLB franchises at $321 million. The figure hasn’t quite caught up with Forbes’ pre-downturn, 2008 valuation of $323 million (which may have factored in a future in Fremont). Despite this, the number is up 5% over last year. Some other numbers and extrapolations:
- The Yankees are worth the most at $1.85 billion, followed by the Dodgers at $1.4 billion (based on current franchise bids).
- The Angels ($656 million) and Giants ($643 million) follow the Dodgers as most valuable on the West Coast.
- Aggregate value of all franchises is $18.1 billion. The A’s account for only 1.77% of this total currently.
- A’s revenue is estimated at $160 million, roughly in line with last year’s amount. This includes revenue sharing, if you’re asking. (I assume that Lew Wolff may quibble with the figure a bit.)
- Player expenses for the A’s are listed at $81 million, slightly more than the 50% “salary cap” that we frequently discuss here.
- The blurb on the A’s page questions what team president Michael Crowley does. Besides saying no, I wonder that myself sometimes.
A closer look at how the valuations for the Giants and A’s breaks down yields some additional insight.
The big takeaway is that for the first time, the Giants are considered twice as valuable as the A’s. It’s reflective of the constraints the A’s are under, as well as the team’s lack of promotion within the market(s). To their credit, the A’s have a much more permanent media presence than they had in the last 20 years. It’s still a long climb out of the cellar. The team’s stadium value would probably be double in a sold out new ballpark, and the brand value could see a similar increase. Sport would see a drop due to less reliance on revenue sharing. Market’s a tougher question. Clearly, that number could double if the A’s were allowed to build in San Jose, but it should also go up appreciably if they built something new in Oakland. Some back-of-the-napkin math has me estimating the team’s value in a new ballpark in Oakland at $400 million, San Jose at $450 million.