Lindholm: The economic state of baseball in 2015

From SABR member Scott Lindholm on March 30, 2015:

Forbes released their annual baseball franchise valuations last week, a tradition since 1998. While there is legitimate discussion regarding the accuracy of the numbers, they serve as a reference point and generally reflect reality — for example, they don’t show the Athletics to be worth more than the Yankees or anything ridiculous like that — so they provide a basis to gauge the health of individual teams and the overall status of baseball.

Forbes shows a team’s value (quite likely the most difficult thing to quantify) and then breaks out revenues, gate receipts, debt load, salaries and operating income. Operating income is defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), so it’s not the bottom line return teams see each year.

So how is baseball doing? Pretty darn good from a franchise value standpoint–this chart shows cumulative franchise value since 1998.

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Originally published: March 30, 2015. Last Updated: March 30, 2015.