Forbes released their annual baseball team valuations today and the Phillies come in at number five for the second consecutive year, with their current value measured at $893 million. Despite staying put in the rankings, the number is a 23.5 percent increase over last year’s valuation of $723 million (which was a 19 percent bump from 2011).
Team valuations are up throughout the league, with the average team worth $744 million. While they’re fifth in value, the Phillies are only worth about 20 percent more than the average team. Because of the Yankees ($2.3 billion), Dodgers ($1.615 billion) and Red Sox ($1.312 billion), the Phillies ranking seems a lot better than it actually is compared to the rest of the league. Believe it or not, the Phillies increase in value is directly in line with the league average when compared to last year (about 23 percent).
Other numbers released by Forbes show the Phillies with 2012 revenue of $279 million and an operating income of $600,000. A year ago, the same report calculated the team’s 2011 operating income at negative $11.6 million. According to Cot’s Contracts, the Phillies payroll rose only about $6 million from 2011 to 2012 compared to a rise of about $28 million from 2010 to 2011, presumably allowing them to operate in the black in 2012.
Last February, the Philadelphia Inquirer speculated that the Phillies, after leading baseball in local television ratings in 2011, could be in line for a $5 billion television contract once their current deal with CSN Philadelphia runs out in 2015. These local television megadeals have become commonplace throughout baseball, and the Forbes report says the Phillies and Comcast are currently negotiating:
The Phillies are in the process of negotiating a new local television deal with CSN Philadelphia that could be worth twice as much as their present deal with the network.
Per Forbes, CSN Philadelphia and PHL 17 paid the team $54 million combined in 2012. If a new deal would double the team’s rights fee, as Forbes suggests, the Phillies could be looking at a $100 million cash infusion, per year, come 2016. This would obviously increase the team’s valuation substantially.
The important takeaway here is that the Phillies value is still on the rise despite the disaster that was 2012. The bump to $893 million was no doubt a result of the 257 game sellout streak that ended in August and there were already reports that ticket sales were down in the offseason.
So the next question is – how long can they sustain it?