At only $485 million dollars.
Earlier this week, Forbes released their annual Major League Baseball franchise valuations. Once again, the New York Yankees, with a value of nearly $2.5 billion, were determined the most valuable franchise in baseball. The Rays were 30th with a value of $485 million.
While the average team increased in value by 9%, the value of the Rays increased 8%. That’s 1% behind the Yankees, 19% below the Giants, and tied with the Angels and Rangers. The value of the Astros fell the most at -15%. The value of the Rays’ Florida neighbors, the Marlins, fell by 4%.
Another interesting point in the Forbes article is that “Even after kicking in $95 million towards the league’s 34% local revenue sharing pool and their $64 million PILOT bond payments for Yankee Stadium last season”, the Yankees revenue is almost as much as the Rays franchise value ($461 million – or 95% of $485 million). That means the Yankees make almost enough to buy the Rays every year. The benefits of playing in New York City and a metro area of 19.9 million, compared to the Tampa Bay metro area of 2.8 million.
But Forbes did rank the Rays as “The Best MLB Team for the Money“. That is the result of good management and wise spending.
On the subject of management, as Cork Gaines at Rays Index points out, the value of the Rays has gone up 132% since Stu Sternberg took over in 2006. Not a bad investment. That’s 18.86% a year. Comparatively, on Sept 30th, 2005, just before Stu Sternberg became principal owner of the Rays, the S&P index was at 1,228. Today, it is at 1,861. That’s only a 51.5% increase. Stu Sternberg has made 80% more by owning the Rays than if he only invested in the S&P 500. Of course, Stu Sternberg probably has more investments than just the Rays, but his investment in the team is doing very, very well.