In its report, Forbes, which has been tracking the league’s finances since 1998, revealed that the money that all teams made from the $450 million sale of the Montreal Expos in 2006 was invested in hedge funds are now worth more than $1 billion.
“The value of a team used to be about a team itself,” Forbes executive editor Michael Ozanian said in a phone interview with ESPN.com. “Then it shifted to the stadium value and then to the television deals and now it’s more about what’s not on the field at all.”
Each team also owns an equal share in MLB Advanced Media, which among other things, has generated massive revenue from its gameday video and audio app MLB At Bat, which has been the highest grossing sports app in the Apple store on the iPhone and iPad for four consecutive years. MLB Advanced Media generates more than $600 million in revenue and Forbes conservatively values the subsidiary at $6 billion.
Combine those investments with the $12.4 billion in national television revenue the clubs will receive thanks to new deals with Fox, Turner and ESPN, that run through the 2021 season, and it’s easy to see why it’s a great time to be a Major League Baseball owner.
The New York Yankees are the most valuable team for the 16th straight year. Forbes tabs the team’s value at $2.3 billion, surpassing the Dallas Cowboys($2.1 billion) for the title of the most valuable franchise in North America. The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the No. 2 spot at $1.5 billion.
Ozanian said that the $2.1 billion price that Guggenheim Partners paid for the team looks to be too steep since he believes at least $1 billion of the team’s new television deal, which has been announced by not yet submitted to Major League Baseball, will go towards revenue sharing.