About six years ago, Forbes came up with an infamous calculation that concluded Kevin McHale, then with the Timberwolves, was the best GM in all four major U.S. men’s pro sports.
That was 2007, and we still invoke a dose of skepticism with every sports-based ranking Forbes subsequently has released. That said, Forbes’ list of Major League Baseball team values came out Wednesday, and a few items caught our attention:
• The average MLB team is now valued at $744 million, a 23 percent increase from just a year ago. Much of that wealth, however, has nothing to do with wins, losses or attendance. ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell notes that it’s more about good investments, MLB Advanced Media and massive TV deals.
• The Yankees are valued at $2.3 billion — a gain of $450 million from last year and now the top spot among all North American sports franchises. No. 2 on the MLB list? The Dodgers, at a little over $1.6 billion. So the Yankees are worth almost $700 million more than any other team in baseball. How is that a level playing field?
• The valuation is a mixed bag for the Twins. Minnesota went from $510 million to $578 million, according to Forbes, in the past year. That’s roughly a 13 percent increase. But because the average MLB team increased 23 percent, the Twins went down in ranking in terms of overall value from 14th to 20th across MLB. Twins President Dave St. Peter said via e-mail the drop in ranking “is likely driven by a downward attendance trend for the Twins combined with a few new local television agreements around the league.”
• The most valuable franchise in the AL Central is the White Sox at $692 million, followed by the Tigers at $643 million. The Twins are in the middle, with the Indians ($559 million) and Royals ($457 million) below them. None of those teams are in the top 10 of MLB franchise values.
But as always, take these numbers for what they are worth. In the case of the Twins, it isn’t much.
“The Twins have not traditionally put much stock in the annual Forbes franchise valuation,” St. Peter said.