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Forbes: MLB, teams continue to improve financially

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Mar 28 2013 09:48:30 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 28 2013 01:56:26 PM CDT
Baseballs, sports, MLB

Times are good for owners of the 30 Major League Baseball teams -- very good.

Forbes released its annual valuation figures on Wednesday and topping the list -- for the 16th straight year -- is the New York Yankees, which the magazine said is worth $2.3 billion. The Los Angeles Dodgers at $1.5 billion comes in at a distant second place.

The Boston Red Sox at $1.3 billion and Chicago Cubs at $1 billion are the third and fourth ranked most valuable baseball franchises.

The average valuation of teams jumped 23 percent from last year, and Forbes credits the league's off-field investments for boosting the team average to $744 million.

Forbes cited one such investment -- the sale of the Montreal Expos in 2006 for $450 million. Each team had an equal share in the franchise, and the money made from that sale was invested in a hedge fund that is now worth more than $1 billion.

"The value of a team used to be about a team itself," Forbes executive editor Michael Ozanian told 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."

Examining exorbitant TV revenue along with other media rights such as video and game-day apps, it's no wonder that teams' valuations have skyrocketed.

National TV deals with Fox, TBS and ESPN, worth more than $12 billion over eight years, translates into an average of $53 million per year for each team.

Forbes said the value of the Oakland Athletics rose 46 percent, more than any other team, to $468 million.