Forbes Magazine is out with its yearly valuation of major league baseball teams and the Atlanta Braves are worth a pretty penny according to the magazine.
The Braves ranked 13th amongst all MLB teams with a reported value of $482 million, up seven-percent from last season. Atlanta had operating revenue of $201 million last year, $46 million of which came from gate receipts. The Braves reportedly had a net operating income of $22.2 million last season. Forbes goes on to speculate that Liberty Media, the owner of the Braves, is getting the club ready for an eventual sale.
It appears as though Liberty Media is preparing to unload the Braves. The tax advantages to Liberty's purchase of the Braves from Time Warner 2007 expire after five years and ownership has slashed player payroll from $102 million to $84 million since 2008 despite higher revenue.
Atlanta ranked third amongst all NL East teams in valuation with the New York Mets (5th, $747 million) and the Philadelphia Phillies (6th, $609 million) ahead of Atlanta and the bottom feeding Washington Nationals (16th, $417 million) and the spendthrift Florida Marlins (24th, $360 million) below Atlanta in value.
The usual suspects, the New York Yankees ($1.7 billion) and the Boston Red Sox ($912 million) topped the list, with the Pittsburgh Pirates ($304 million) doing what they do best -- finishing in last place. Although the cheapskate Pirates with their $35 million 2010 opening day payroll and hefty luxury revenue sharing check made more of a profit than the Braves did last season ($24.6 million).
Other teams benefiting from MLB's revenue sharing include the San Diego Padres ($37 million profit on a $38 million 2010 opening day payroll) and the Oakland Athletics ($23.5 million profit on a $51 million 2010 opening day payroll).
Three MLB teams lost money last year, according to the magazine. The Detroit Tigers lost a reported $29.1 million, followed by the Mets (-$6 million) and the Red Sox (-$1.1 million).
In a separate report, Forbes chronicled the financial woes of the Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams are saddled with a lot of debt for varying reasons. The Mets owners are smack in the middle of the Bernie Madoff scandal while the Dodgers are under financial strain because of the ongoing divorce saga between owners Frank and Jaime McCourt.