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MLB team values rise league-wide by nearly 10%, Braves break the 2 billion mark per Forbes

MLB team values rise league-wide by nearly 10%, Braves break the 2 billion mark per Forbes
ATLANTA, GA – OCTOBER 11: Pre-game ceromonies prior to the Game 3 of the NLDS between the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers on October 11, 2021 at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Monday, March 28, 2022

-Clint Manry

Despite a three-month lockout, Major League Baseball is currently more valuable than ever before, as last Thursday Forbes released its annual valuation of the sport. And it makes sense: as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, starting in 2023 the league will begin introducing ads on uniforms and helmets, and starting this season the postseason field will expand from ten teams to twelve. Logically, all of that equals more money for MLB, as well as its 30 teams. For more details regarding the expected financial growth of the sport, in addition to an explanation as to why the average value of a MLB team rose 9% year-to-year in 2022, I highly recommend checking out the Forbes write-up linked above.

But here we’ll focus on the Braves, and how the rise of the sport’s value has impacted them coming off its first World Series win in over 25 years…

Raking in the cash

Per Forbes, the Braves value as a team increased by a whopping 12% over the last year, making it the tenth most valuable franchise in the sport at $2.1 billion (up from $1.9 billion). Not only has the team’s valuation never been higher, but for the 2021 season, Atlanta received record-high revenues, earning $568 million altogether (including $8 million from the Battery Atlanta). That of course will happen when you draw the second-highest total in overall fan attendance for the season (behind only the Dodgers), which is exactly what the Braves did last year, despite 2-3 fewer home games than everyone else in the league. All-in-all, Truist Park brought in $135 million in gate receipts during the 2021 campaign, as over 2.3 million fans showed up throughout last summer. Sure, a beautiful five-year-old stadium, to go with a nearly-half-a-billion-dollar campus surrounding it in The Battery, obviously helps make the Braves an incredibly valuable franchise, but it’s also the fan base and the vast span of what we all call Braves Country.

MLB’s Top 10 Most Valuable Teams (2022)

RANKTEAMVALUEYEAR-TO-YEAR CHANGE
1Yankees$6 billion+14%
2 Dodgers$4.075 billion+14%
3Red Sox$3.9 billion+13%
4Cubs$3.8 billion+13%
5Giants$3.5 billion+10%
6Mets$2.65 billion+8%
7Cardinals$2.45 billion+9%
8Phillies$2.3 billion+12%
9Angels$2.2 billion+9%
10 Braves$2.1 billion+12%
Here you can find a breakdown (by season) of the Braves valuation, according to Forbes, featuring the team’s overall value, revenue, operating income, player expenses and win-to-player cost ratio.

We know that Liberty Media and the Braves team is supposed to be a separate entity, but the influx in cash has had a noticeable cause and effect this offseason. So far GM Alex Anthopoulos has given out major league contracts to six players over the winter (headlined by Kenley Jansen’s $16-million deal), totaling $44.150 million in total money, not counting the one-year, $20 million extension he gave veteran pitcher Charlie Morton back in early September of last season. The result: Atlanta is currently operating with the eighth-highest payroll in baseball, per Spotrac, heading into Opening Day with a team record-high of $172.935 million in 2022 total payroll (with an estimation of roughly $201 million altogether when accounting for benefits and minor league salaries). The point is: the Braves haven’t spent money like this before, and boy is it nice to see.

So we’ll see how the 2022 season goes in terms of revenue for the Braves. But it’s fair to say that the club made up for the financial disaster that 2020 was. As Forbes details in its piece, there’s even more money coming teams’ way in the near future, as not only does the extra add revenue from the uniforms and helmets starting next year help, as well as the extra roughly $65 million from ESPN for the additional playoff games, but there’s even more coming from recent streaming deals; earlier this month it was reported that the money coming from the new contracts with Apple, Peacock (and ESPN) should earn MLB nearly 30% more money in media rights going forward. The cash seems to keep flowing baseball’s way it seems. Let’s hope the Braves continue to become more valuable.

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