You know the Red Sox are worth a lot of money. You know they're very profitable, too, even as they spend more than most of the league each season. Forbes has put a dollar figure on just what the Sox are worth heading into the 2016 season, and it's an eye-popping $2.3 billion. That's the third-most valuable in the league, behind only the $3.4 billion Yankees -- who have been in first every season Forbes has tracked this -- and the $2.5 billion Dodgers.
Franchise worth is up all across baseball -- 10 years ago, only the Yankees were a billion-dollar enterprise, and only just at $1.026 billion. The Red Sox, at that time, were valued at $617 million and ranked second, and the Rays, lowest in the league, came in at $209 million. Inflation is just a small part of the change -- $10 million in 2006 dollars is about $12 million in 2016 dollars: you'll want to look at regional television deals and the rise of MLBAM for the surges in valuation across the game.
Whereas in 2006 the Yankees were the lone billion-dollar team, in 2016, 17 teams come in at least $1 billion in value. The Pirates nearly make 18 of 30, as their valuation is $975 million. The lowest-ranked of the 30 MLB teams is still the Rays, but their value has more than tripled in those 10 years, and now sits at $650 million. Yes, the poorest team in baseball is worth more than the second-richest one was a decade ago. Baseball is doing okay.
Forbes has a bit more info on the Sox finances to share, as well. In 2015, they made $398 million in revenue, but their operating income -- what's left after expenses, wages, and depreciation -- was $43 million. Their payroll, for luxury tax purposes, finished third at $185 million, and that took up the bulk of those expenses. However, the Red Sox also contribute significantly to the revenue-sharing pool given their abilities to generate their own, and that's no small figure: Boston has spent $325 million over the last four seasons alone just for revenue-sharing purposes, second only to the Yankees.
So, the Sox don't have infinite pools of money to draw from, as far as operating within their own, Sox-centric revenues goes. This is why you see the Sox wanting to avoid the luxury tax and its penalties -- they already get hit hard in the pool that makes the poorer teams better, and while $43 million isn't bad, you can see where that could quickly vanish with a couple of huge signings.
That $43 million ranked sixth in the league, behind the Giants ($73 million), Astros ($67 million), Cardinals ($60 million), Cubs ($51 million), and Mets ($47 million). Except for the Giants, all of those teams made additional revenue off of their playoff appearances, while the Sox were in last place for the second year in a row. There's money and power in the Red Sox brand, playoffs or no.
Only three teams are reported to have run at a loss in 2015, per Forbes numbers. The Rangers lost $4.7 million, the Phillies $9 million, and the Dodgers $73 million. So, yeah, $43 million doesn't look so bad when you throw all this context in, huh?
Forbes isn't kind enough to share all their figures in a table anymore, as you need to go through a slideshow to find out anything. Don't worry, though, I made a little table for you with the pertinent information if you prefer that to clicking through 31 slides. The teams are in order of their franchise valuation, with their revenue and operating income (or loss, in three cases) listed as well.
|Team||Revenue||Operating Income/Loss||Team||Revenue||Operating Income/Loss|
|Yankees||$516 million||$13 million||White Sox||$240 million||$20 million|
|Dodgers||$438 million||-$73 million||Orioles||$239 million||$9 million|
|Red Sox||$398 million||$43 million||Pirates||$244 million||$35 million|
|Giants||$409 million||$73 million||Diamondbacks||$223 million||$17 million|
|Cubs||$340 million||$51 million||Twins||$240 million||$19 million|
|Mets||$313 million||$47 million||Reds||$237 million||$9 million|
|Cardinals||$300 million||$60 million||Blue Jays||$241 million||$1.2 million|
|Angels||$312 million||$42 million||Padres||$244 million||$33 million|
|Nationals||$293 million||$23 million||Brewers||$234 million||$27 million|
|Phillies||$263 million||-$9 million||Royals||$273 million||$39 million|
|Rangers||$275 million||-$4.7 million||Rockies||$227 million||$5.5 million|
|Mariners||$271 million||$17 million||Indians||$220 million||$18 million|
|Braves||$266 million||$28 million||Athletics||$208 million||$33 million|
|Tigers||$268 million||$11 million||Marlins||$199 million||$16 million|
|Astros||$270 million||$67 million||Rays||$193 million||$8 million|
Fourth in revenue and sixth in actual income after the fact. Not bad for the Sox, considering they had a last-place season once again. All the youth on the roster could pay off very literally if they manage to make it to meaningful October baseball yet again.