So it's nice to see Robert Trigaux remind us in the Tampa Bay Times how the Glazers, Stu Sternberg, and Jeff Vinik have "made wise investments." and are "not starving."
In 2014, the Bucs are valued at just over $1.2 billion, up an impressive 15 percent in the past year. The Rays trail far behind at $485 million while the Lightning bring up the rear at just $230 million, according to Forbes, which has tracked sports team values for 17 years.That's a big reason most teams have stopped talking about their "losses" in recent years and instead have changed their messaging to "the rich teams are demanding we make more profit...or else."
How can a team like the Bucs be valued so highly, especially when a regular football season is a mere 16 games and baseball, by contrast, runs 162 games? Is the country's love affair with football so passionate? Is the money-making strategy of the NFL so vastly superior to Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League?
The simple answer is: Yes. NFL teams share close to 61 percent of total revenues the National Football League generates, which include TV rights fees that will grow to $4.9 billion this season.
Contrast such mammoth numbers with the Rays, whose modest $485 million value ranks them last among 30 MLB teams. That's far below the $2.5 billion Forbes estimates as the worth of the New York Yankees.
Ranking the Rays at the very bottom of baseball feels harsh, especially for a team that had won at least 90 games in the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons. Only the Texas Rangers matched the Rays in that time span. Yet the Rays continued to suffer the lowest average attendance in 2014.
At $230 million, the Tampa Bay Lightning rank 26th in value among 30 hockey teams.
What timing. The low-priced Lightning enjoyed a first place standing as of Monday in the NHL's Atlantic conference.
Not that hockey or baseball are starving.
The Lightning team's value soared a startling 28 percent in just the past year. The Rays gained 8 percent in the same period.
Don't forget how low these teams were priced when last acquired.
The Glazers bought the struggling Bucs franchise in 1995 for $192 million, a hefty price at the time. Stuart Sternberg acquired the low-performing Rays in 2004 for $200 million. And Jeff Vinik purchased the Lightning in 2010 for just $93 million.