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Forbes says Phillies are now worth $2 billion


John Middleton is the Phillies managing partner. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

2019 will go down as one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history for the Philadelphia Phillies in terms of on-field results. However, from a business sense, the Phillies had another strong year.

In fact, Forbes says that the Phillies are now worth $2 billion. That’s an eight percent total increase from this time last year, when they were valued at $1.8 billion. The eight percent increase is tied with the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays for the second largest increase in total franchise value over the past year. Only the New York Yankees, Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles saw larger increases, at nine percent.

In total, Forbes says that the Phillies are the eighth most valuable MLB franchise. The only teams worth more are the Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and New York Mets.

A notable chunk of the Phillies revenue comes from local broadcast deals. Forbes estimates that the Phillies made $112 million in profits from their television and radio contracts over the last year, the fourth highest total in baseball. In January of 2014, the Phillies and what’s now known as NBC Sports Philadelphia inked a 25-year/$2.5 billion television contract extension. SportsRadio 94 WIP and the Phillies re-upped on a radio deal in November of 2016, though the exact details of the pact weren’t made public.

Over the past few years, the Phillies have made some minor renovations to Citizens Bank Park, which has been their home since 2004. Before the 2018 season, they added a wiffle ball field in right field known as “The Yard.” Prior to the 2019 season, both Pass and Stow and Shake Shack opened at Citizens Bank Park as well.

Of course, the on-field investment that the Phillies made ahead of the 2019 season certainly couldn’t have hurt their value, because it re-energized the city. It’s hard to quantify the exact value that a major offseason splurge highlighted by signing Bryce Harper to a 13-year/$330 million deal brought, but it absolutely increased ticket and merchandise sales for 2019 and beyond.

And as Mike Ozanian and Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes noted, even in these uncertain times, baseball teams are usually pretty strong investments. Only the Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates are worth less than they were a season ago. Even the Detroit Tigers, who went a league-worst 47-114 in 2019, held firm at their value of $1.25 billion.

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