Even though they're not a winning team anymore, the Phillies are still one of the more valuable teams in Major League Baseball.
According to the latest annual rankings by Forbes, the Phils are worth $1.25 billion, 10th most in Major League Baseball. The New York Yankees are atop the list for the 18th straight year, worth $3.2 billion, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers at $2.4 billion and the San Francisco Giants in 3rd at $2 billion.
Coming in last, the poor Tampa Bay Rays at a lowly $625 million. If we all took up a collection, we might be able to buy that thing.
The Phillies have dropped four spots in a year. Last season they were the 6th-most valuable team, although their overall net worth increased 28% over the last year, up from $975 million last year. The business of baseball as a whole is booming, with the entire sport worth $36 billion, and the average baseball team worth $1.2 billion, up 48% from 2014.
As for the Phils, they collected a revenue of $265 million last year and paid out $198 million to players in 2014. They earned gate receipts of $89 million, but also had a net loss in operating revenue for the third time in four years, -$39 million for 2014. No team in baseball had a larger loss in operating revenue (only the Tigers and Blue Jays were in the red).
Of course, the team's value is expected to tick up when their 25-year TV agreement with Comcast SportsNet kicks in starting in 2016, which will be worth more than $5 billion. The team will also own 25% of the regional sports network.
Needless to say, the Phillies are still in a relatively good position, although that net loss in operating revenue is one the team hopes to reverse this season. Baseball Prospectus puts the Phils payroll for 2015 at a little over $136 million, far less than the $177 million it was last year. That should help.
Since opening Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies have used much of their team's value on the field. The hope is once they are cleared of the money being paid to Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee, the team will be in a better position to use their cash for the on-field product once again.
Of course, these annual rankings by Forbes should not be taken as gospel, and there are some who don't think much of them.
It's time again for the Forbes random MLB franchise valuations, prepared by interns who vigorously avoided math & science as undergrads.— Christopher D. Long (@octonion) March 25, 2015
So, take all this for what it's worth.