The Forbes report estimates the Yankees value at $5 billion. That figure marks a 9% growth over the past year and is an interesting milestone. The Yankees are the first MLB team to reach the $5 billion mark, with only the Dallas Cowboys (valued at $5.5 billion) ahead among other professional sports teams.
The Los Angeles Dodgers ($3.4B), Boston Red Sox ($3.3B), Chicago Cubs ($3.2B), and San Francisco Giants ($3.1B) round out MLB’s top five.
Toronto ($1.625B), Baltimore ($1.4B), and Tampa Bay ($1.05B) fall in the bottom half of the league. Only the Royals and Marlins (the lone team under a billion) are valued lower than the Rays.
On average, MLB teams rose 4% in value over the past year to $1.85 billion.
There are naturally a host of factors that go into how Forbes develops these estimates — things such as gate receipts, local and national media revenues, concessions and merchandise sales, sponsorships, and more. The Yankee-owned YES Network plays a factor. New York City is a major advantage that the Yankees have never shied away from using. The Yankees have long been a presence in the city beyond what happens on the field. The Mets, for what its worth, ranked sixth at $2.4 billion so they, too, benefit from calling the city home.
Over the years the Yankees have regularly been among MLB’s leaders in payroll expense and ticket costs, so the idea that the club is valued the highest is hardly new news. New York has been at the top of Forbes’ list every year since its first release in 1998.
It will be interesting to see how these figures change one year from now. There remains a lot of uncertainty about the 2020 season so it’s nearly impossible to truly gauge how any team’s finances will be impacted. The number of games teams will play is a big unanswered question. Whether fans will be allowed to attend them is still another.
Gate receipts and media rights are the two single biggest components of most team’s revenue streams.
George Steinbrenner paid $8.8 million to purchase the Yankees in 1973. That’s roughly $51 million in today’s money with inflation — roughly 75% of the total salary the team swallowed after Jacoby Ellsbury played his final game in 2017 ($89.5M).
Only a franchise valued as much as the Yankees can afford to eat that much in wasted expense.