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Robert Trigaux

Major League Baseball franchise values: Tampa Bay Rays dips slightly as Yankees, Red Sox gain



Mattgarzagame2010seasonwinoriolesjamesborchuck Wake up and good morning. Well, after another win last night against the Baltimore Orioles, marked by great Matt Garza pitching and an Evan Longoria hitfest, the Tampa Bay Rays are off to a strong start. If only the team's financial picture offered the same robust numbers.

Forbes magazine is out with the rankings of Major League Baseball teams by franchise value. The Tampa Bay Rays rank 28 among 30 teams with a current value of $316 million. Only the Oakland Athletics $295 million) and Pittsburgh Pirates ($286 million) are worth less, according to Forbes.

Evanlongoriagame22010homerinwinoriolesjamesborchuck In contrast, and no surprise here, the New York Yankees ranks tops in value with a franchise valued at $1.6 billion or basically five times that of the Rays. The Boston Red Sox are No. 2 valued at $870 million. (Last night's photos of Garza, above left, and Longoria, right, by James Borchuck of the St. Petersburg Times.)

That means, for folks who don't follow baseball much, the Rays are in the same eastern devision of the American League as the big-buck Yankees and Red Sox, teams they must play and defeat often enough just to make it to the playoffs.

Tampabayraysvaluechartforbes2010What's most worrisome, however, is that the value of the Yankees and Red Sox teams rose, respectively 8 percent and 4 percent, in the past year. The Ray's declined by 1 percent, to $316 million from $320 million, as this Forbeschart indicates. That may not seem significant, but consider that the Yankee's 1-year appreciation is roughly worth half the value of the entire Rays' franchise. The Rays are one of nine MLB teams to lose value in the past year. (The Forbes assessment of the Rays is not quite up to date since it says the Rays hold a stake in the Florida Tuskers of the fledgling United Football League, an investment the team already has sold back to the league.) Here's how that $316 million breaks down:

* Sport: $149 million
* Market: $85 million
* Stadium: $57 million
* Brand Management: $25 million
* Team Value: $316 million

Overall, the values of the 30 teams increased an average of 2 percent over the past year to $491 million, according to the survey. Last year, the average team value rose 1 percent. The Toronto Blue Jays (also in the AL eastern division) and the Oakland Athletics each posted the biggest 1-year declines in value: 8 percent.

This is not just a straightforward "big market" versus "little market" story. On this year's Forbes list, teams with double-digit increases in value included the Florida Marlins (15 percent), Minnesota Twins (14 percent) and the Texas Rangers (11 percent). This Reuters story offers more details.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:27am]


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