Despite growing concerns about the viability of the regional sports network (RSN) model, Major League Baseball and its 30 franchises are only increasing in value. On Thursday, Forbes published their annual MLB franchise value estimations and the average team value is up 12% this year. All 30 clubs are valued at $1 billion or more.
Here are MLB's most valuable franchises according to Forbes' estimates:
- New York Yankees: $7.1 billion
- Los Angeles Dodgers: $4.8 million
- Boston Red Sox: $4.5 million
- Chicago Cubs: $4.1 million
- San Francisco Giants: $3.7 million
The Yankees have ranked No. 1 every year since Forbes began publishing franchise valuations in 1998. The gap between No. 1 and No. 2 on the rankings is the same as the gap between No. 2 and No. 10 (St. Louis Cardinals). The Miami Marlins, at $1 billion, rank 30th. The average team is valued at $2.32 billion. Here's more from Forbes:
The average MLB team value is up 12% this year, to $2.32 billion. During the 2022 season, revenue (net of stadium debt service) increased 7.8%, to an all-time high of $10.3 billion. The top-line gain was driven by a 64% increase in ticket revenue (including postseason and spring training), to $2.4 billion (the 2021 season started with nearly all ballparks under capacity restrictions) and a 35% increase in premium seating (suites and club seating) revenue, to $$1.16 billion. But operating income (in the sense of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) came in at an average of $17.7 million per team, down 20% from the previous season as player costs (salaries, bonuses and benefits) rose 13%, to $5.2 billion, and an increase in SG&A expenses.
Diamond Sports Group, which operates several RSNs, recently filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, creating uncertainty about local television revenue for 14 MLB teams: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays, and Texas Rangers. If necessary, MLB has said it will step in and broadcast games.
It should be noted that, despite the RSN uncertainty, the Padres recently signed Manny Machado to a $350 million extension and the D-Backs recently signed Corbin Carroll to a $111 million contract. The money hasn't dried up. MLB recently hired three new executives to help navigate the changing broadcast landscape.