The Washington Nationals franchise is now worth $700 million, an 11 percent increase from last year, good for 13th place among 30 Major League Baseball teams, according to Forbes.com. That’s one spot north of last year’s ranking, when the team was valued at $631 million.
“Unlike their predecessors that eventually moved to Texas and Minnesota, the Nationals appear to be taking root in D.C., thanks to some young stars like outfielder Bryce Harper, pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg, and shortstop Ian Desmond,” the magazine wrote in its 17th annual value list, released Wednesday. “Despite many of the original five-year contracts with the team’s ballpark sponsors ending prior to last season, the team increased sponsorship revenue 20 percent last year by adding new backers, like T-Mobile, Brown-Forman, HBO and Utz.”
The New York Yankees top the value list for the 17th consecutive year at $2.5 billion, and four other teams are also worth at least $1 billion. The MLB average is $811 million.
The Nats are squeezed between two American League franchises, the Seattle Mariners ($710 million) and the Chicago White Sox ($695 million). The Baltimore Orioles ranked 16th at $620 million.
I have to pity my former colleagues at the Tampa Bay Business Journal, who had to report their hometown Rays are dead last in value at $485 million. That’s at least partially due to the team’s “antiquated and difficult-to-get to stadium,” which typically draws the lowest attendance despite one of MLB’s lowest ticket prices.