FORTUNE — A question posed by the $2.15 billion bid to buy the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers (the most money ever paid for a sports franchise): Is the team really worth that much? Thanks to increasingly lucrative TV contracts, it very well could be. As the graph below of team sales since 2003 demonstrates, a larger audience drastically ups the franchise’s price. Angels owner Arte Moreno knows this all too well. He spent more signing slugger Albert Pujols than it cost to buy the team in 2003.
This story is from the April 30, 2012 issue of Fortune.