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Study: New York Yankees top 2021 MLB franchise valuations

Baseball team valued at US$6.75bn by Sportico.

29 March 2021 Ed Dixon
  • Yankees rank ahead of Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs and Giants
  • Sportico estimates average MLB franchise now worth US$2.2bn 
  • Combined team revenue fell US$7bn due to Covid-hit season

The New York Yankees have been named by Sportico as Major League Baseball’s (MLB) most valuable franchise at US$6.75 billion.

The Hal Steinbrenner-owned team was ranked comfortably ahead of the Boston Red Sox, who are estimated to be worth US$4.8 billion, and are followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers (US$4.62 billion), the Chicago Cubs (US$4.14 billion) and the San Francisco Giants (US$3.49 billion).

The least valuable of MLB’s teams are the Miami Marlins, who are estimated to be worth US$1.12 billion.

Factoring in all 30 clubs, the average MLB franchise is now said to be worth US$2.2 billion in 2021. Collectively, they are worth US$66 billion.

Sportico reaches its valuations by combining team value with team-related businesses, such as regional sports networks (RSNs) and real estate. As a result, the Yankees have a team value of US$5.59 billion, with team-related businesses and real estate totalling US$1.16 billion.

The Yankees also retained the largest revenue for any MLB team. However, this only came to US$189 million in a Covid-hit season that meant income was torpedoed across the board. As such, the Yankees year-on-year (YoY) revenue was down 75 per cent from US$745 million in 2019.

According to Sportico, combined team revenue fell US$7 billion, or 67 per cent, to US$3.4 billion as fans were shut out of ballparks throughout the 2020 regular season. As a result, teams lost all ticket, concession and parking revenue, while sponsor revenues plummeted 50 to 60 per cent for most teams and local media revenues ‘sunk even more’.

It meant the Yankees lost more than US$300 million in stadium revenue. Sportico adds that the franchise, as well as the Dodgers and New York Mets, all had operating losses of more than US$100 million in terms of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). The Yankees were the hardest hit with a loss of US$175 million.

Elsewhere, Forbes' latest list of MLB’s most valuable teams – released in the same week as Sportico’s ranking – had the Yankees top at a valuation of US$5.25 billion.

Forbes, whose 2021 report has the Yankees top for the 23rd consecutive year, ranked the Dodgers second (US$ 3.57 billion), followed by the Red Sox (US$3.46 billion), the Cubs (US$3.36 billion) and the Giants (US$3.17 billion).

Once again, the Marlins (US$990 million) ranked bottom and were the only team to dip below the US$1 billion valuation mark.

It means that Forbes pegs the average MLB franchise value at an all-time high of US$1.9 billion this year, an increase of more than three per cent YoY.

All told, the list says MLB’s 30 teams lost US$1.8 billion in EBITDA, compared to a profit of US$1.5 billion in 2019. Revenue also fell 65 per cent to US$3.66 billon.

Despite the losses tied to the pandemic, Forbes says team revenues will increase next season when the league’s new national media deals commence. According to the report, MLB is set for a 19 per cent annual average increase from 2022 until the end of 2028.

Forbes says its methodology for team values, which are enterprise values, is calculated ‘using a multiple of revenue’. These are based on historical transactions and the future economics of the sport and team. Ownership stakes in RSNs, as well as related profits or losses, were excluded from Forbes’ valuations and operating results.

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