There may be no crying in baseball, but there sure is a lot of money in it.
The New York Yankees are worth a staggering $3.7 billion, making it the most valuable Major League Baseball team and second-most valuable sports team in the world behind the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, according to calculations by Forbes.
Overall, the average MLB team is now worth $1.54 billion, a 19% increase over last year based largely on increased television revenue and the mushrooming value of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which is the league’s innovative tech division that both streams content online and creates cutting-edge statistical collection methods. As a whole, the league’s revenue increased 7.5% to $9.03 billion in 2016.
The Yankees’ value, which grew 9% over the last year, dwarfs that of the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers, who are worth $2.75 billion. Rounding out the rest of the top five are the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and San Francisco Giants, with values of $2.7 billion, $2.68 billion, and $2.65 billion, respectively. Coming in last at $825 million are the lowly Tampa Bay Rays, who are plagued by poor attendance and a dreadful stadium.
The Rays value looks even worse when factoring out the worth of its share of MLBAM and its offshoot, BAMTech. Forbes estimates the two entities, which each team has an equal share in, to be worth $12 billion and $3.5 billion, respectively. Combined, they add between $400 million and $500 million to each team’s value, so the Rays’ franchise could be worth as little as $325 million on its own.
The most valuable teams also tend to spend the most on players. The Dodgers have an opening day payroll of $225.6 million, while the Yankees, Giants, and Red Sox ranked third, fourth, and fifth with payrolls of $195.3 million, $181.5 million, and $178.8 million, respectively. The Milwaukee Brewers, whose $925 million value ranks them 26th, ranked last in payroll with only $60.8 million committed to players this season. The one notable exception to correlation between value and payroll is the Detroit Tigers, who rank second in payroll at $199.8 million despite a $1.2 billion value that lands them in 18th place.
Given that disparity, it shouldn’t be too surprising that the Tigers posted an operating loss of $36.4 million dollars last year, while the league as a whole averaged an operating income of $34 million.