According to the latest Forbes franchise rankings, the Rays are now worth $451 million, or 40% more than last year and 256% more than when Stu Sternberg bought the team in 2005. The team's estimated revenues were $167 million and it's estimated operating income was $10 million.
But it's not just the Rays killin' it; Forbes estimates the average MLB team is now worth $744 million, up 23% in the last year alone. The publication chalks the success up to ballooning television revenues, the league's investment fund, and "climbing values of Major League Baseball Advanced Media." The soaring values even negated a 9% drop in operating income for the league.
The Yankees dominate the rankings for a 16th straight year ($2.3 billion value) while the Marlins made another huge gain (to $520 million, from $450 million last year and $360 million in 2011). And despite the Rays' huge value jump, they were still the lowest-valued MLB franchise.
That solidifies three theories:
- You can profit drawing 19,000 fans per game even without a playoff appearance....just not as much as MLB and its owners may like.
- Stu Sternberg is likely to be an even richer man if - and when - he ever decides to sell the Rays.
- Tampa Bay doesn't have an attendance or a revenue problem; it has a problem with MLB not sharing enough with small-market teams.