Yankees remain highest-valued MLB franchise as league average revenue hits all-time high

March 27, 2023

Major League Baseball teams remain very valuable—none more so than the New York Yankees, reports Fox Business.

The Yankees remain atop the league as the most valuable franchise at $7.1 billion, an 18% increase from last year, according to Forbes’ latest list. Forbes has been tracking MLB franchise values since 1998, and the Yankees have never relinquished their spot at the top.

The Los Angeles Dodgers rank second in value at $4.8 billion, also an 18% increase from last year.

The Yankees are a big-market team. And New York Mets owner Steve Cohen is the richest owner in the sport. But the Yankees remain a global brand.

The Yankees, owned by the Steinbrenner family, have an operating income estimated at $16.3 million, according to Forbes.

The Mets’ $2.9 billion valuation at No. 6 is due to a $138.5 million operating loss. Cohen is going for it all with the highest payroll in MLB at a record of over $304 million, according to Spotrac. By comparison, the Yankees have a projected $268 million payroll for 2023.

But, according to Fox Busines, the Yankees are not the only franchise to be thriving at the moment. MLB teams saw a 12% spike in average value to $2.32 billion this year. League revenue also increased to an all-time high of $10.3 billion, a 7.8% increase from the previous year.

Last season marked the first year in a couple of seasons that all 30 MLB clubs didn’t have seating restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which helped teams no matter the market. Ticket revenue jumped 64% to $2.4 billion, which includes postseason and spring training sales. Average operating income was down 20%, though, from 2021 ($17.7 million), while costs for players rose 13%.

The recent bankruptcy filing by Diamond Sports Group, which owns local media rights to 14 different teams, did have an impact on some valuations.

By contrast, teams like the Yankees, who have their own regional sports network, YES Network, do well because of the market and fandom. YES generates around $400 million in operating income, per Forbes.

Behind the Yankees and Dodgers, rounding out the top five, are the Boston Red Sox ($4.5 billion, 15%), Chicago Cubs ($4.1 billion, 8%) and San Francisco Giants ($3.7 billion, 6%). 

At the bottom of the list was the Miami Marlins, estimated to be worth $1 billion under owner Bruce Sherman. The Oakland Athletics franchise, long in flux looking to potentially relocate, is just above the Marlins at $1.18 billion.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness