2020 wasn't a great year for sports, with COVID having a big knock-on effect on game attendance and revenue. Even so, the franchises of the MLB soldiered on, and in some cases, even saw an increase in value over the following year. The biggest winner (from a financial perspective, at least) is a team that's been steadily pulling further and further away from the pack for several years now. Find out who it is as we count down the 10 richest MLB teams right now.
10. Washington Nationals - Present Value: $1.925 B
In 2019, the Washington Nationals scored their first-ever World Series, despite losing one of their most valuable players, Bryce Harper, to the Phillies the previous year. The team, which was established in 1969, is owned by Mark Lerner. The president and team manager is Mike Rizzo. Their current valuation stands at $1.925 billion.
9. Los Angeles Angels - Present Value: $2.025 B
After the Los Angeles Angels were founded in 1961, they spent 5 years playing at the Los Angeles' Wrigley Field before moving to their new home at Angel Stadium in 1966. They've played there ever since. In 2019, the city of Anaheim agreed to allow team owner Arte Moreno to buy the stadium along with over a hundred acres of surrounding land for $325 million, thus securing the team's future at there. As a piece of trivia, the team's first owner was Gene Autry, a singing cowboy who rose to fame during the 1930s and later went on to establish The Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum. The team is currently valued at $2.025 billion.
8. Philadelphia Phillies - Present Value: $2.05 B
Established in 1883, the Philadelphia Phillies is one of the oldest franchises in the league. And yet as Wikipedia points out, despite their longevity and their devoted fanbase, they're a team that's always been more associated with failure than victory, having won only two World Series titles (the first in1980 and the second in 2008) and ranked up more losses (over 10,000 to date) than any other sports franchise. Despite that, they're still the 8th most valuable team in the league, with a current valuation of $2.05 billion.
7. St. Louis Cardinals - Present Value: $2.245 B
If the Cardinals have anything, it's a committed fan base. Despite playing in one of the league's smallest markets, they pack out the stadium more than almost any other team. They also pull in some of the highest viewer numbers during televised games. In 1995, Willaim DeWitt, JR paid just $147 million for the Cardinals via his investment group. In the 16 years since, the club's value has risen year on year to give them a valuation of $2.245 billion today.
6. New York Mets - Present Value: $2.45 B
The New Yorks Mets' value rose by a considerable 18 percent last year, increasing their current valuation to $2.45 billion. 2020 saw several other changes for the club besides an increase in value, most significantly the approval of Steve Cohen as the club's new owner in October. The purchase price, which amounted to $2.42 billion, set a new record for the league, despite being $180 million less than the purchase price Cohen had previously agreed upon before the pandemic started to impact revenue. Cohen now serves as CEO while former Mets general manager, Richard "Sandy" Alderson, serves as team president.
5. San Fransisco Giants - Present Value: $3.175 B
Last year wasn't exactly the most spectacular one in the history of the San Fransisco Giants. Not only did their 20th anniversary at Oracle Park have the lowest attendance of fans ever, but they ended the season on 3 consecutive losses. Still, an occasional run of bad luck doesn't detract from the fact they're one of the most successful teams in the history of the league, having romped to victory more times than any other professional team. They're currently the 5th richest team in the MLB with a value of $3.175 billion.
4. Chicago Cubs - Present Value: $3.36 B
2020 wasn't great for the Chicago Cubs. Not only did they miss their postseason for the first time in years, but they also said goodbye to long-term manager Joe Madden, who'd led the Cubs to their first World Series win in over a century. The upheaval doesn't seem to have had an adverse effect on the team's finances though. As of today, they're the league's fourth-richest team with a value of $3.36 billion.
3. Boston Red Sox - Present Value: $3.465 B
Next up is Boston Red Sox, a team that Forbes currently values at $3.465 billion. The Red Sox are owned by Fenway Sports Group, who also holds a majority stake in English football club, Liverpool F.C. The Red Sox have racked up some pretty impressive achievements over the years, including selling out every home game between 2003 and 2012 - a sports record. They've also scored some big-name sponsors, including JetBlue Airways, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and Anheuser-Busch.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers - Present Value: $3.57 B
According to Forbes, the Los Angeles Dodgers currently have a value of $3.75 billion, a 5 percent increase over the previous year. 2020 was a great year for the team: as well as winning their first World Series in three decades, they won the second-highest number of viewers among MLB teams; added two new major investors to their line up; and increased their advantage with the acquisition of Brusdar Graterol and Luke Raley from the Twins and Mookie Betts and David Price from the Red Sox.
1. New York Yankees - Present Value: $5.25 B
At number one are the New York Yankees, who, with a current value of $5.25 billion, are the richest team in the MLB by a very wide margin. As SportyTell notes, Yankee Global Enterprises, which owns the Yankees, is a well-known money-spinning machine. In addition to owning a stake in YES Network, they also own a 20 percent stake in New York City FC soccer team and a portion of the stadium hospitality company, Legends Hospitality Management. Sponsorships with the likes of PepsiCo and Bank of America have also helped prop up the Yankee coffers.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson