The National Pastime is flourishing thanks to cable companies’ desire for live baseball programming. The Yankees as expected, leading the way, coming in as the most valuable team in MLB.
The average Major League Baseball team rose 16 percent in value during the past year, to an all-time high of $605 million. In 2011, revenue (net of payments to cover stadium debt) for the league’s 30 teams climbed to an average of $212 million, a 3.4 percent gain over the previous season. But operating income (in the sense of earnings before non-cash charges and interest expenses) fell 13 percent, to an average of $14 million in part due to a 5.1 percent increase in player costs (including benefits and signing bonuses for amateurs), to $3.5 billion in 2011.
Rights fees paid by cable television channels are behind the growth in team values. Aggregate cable television revenue for baseball’s 30 teams has increased to $923 million from $328 million over the past 10 years. And thanks to new television deals inked by teams like the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Texas Rangers that have yet to kick in, as well as the pending deal for the San Diego Padres and a likely rich deal that will begin in 2014 for whom ever buys the Los Angeles Dodgers, local television revenue could exceed $1.5 billion in 2015.
The top 10:
1. New York Yankees ($1.85 billion)
2. Los Angeles Dodgers ($1.4 billion)
3. Boston Red Sox ($1 billion)
3. Chicago Cubs ($1 billion)
5. Philadelphia Phillies ($723 million)
6. New York Mets ($719 million)
7. Texas Rangers ($674 million)
8. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim ($656 million)
9. San Francisco Giants ($643 million)
10. Chicago White Sox ($600 million)