I’m pretty sure there’s enough magical accounting going on inside a mega-corporate oligopoly like Rogers to make us all not take too seriously the figures provided in the MLB franchise valuation pieces we see annually by Forbes.
That said, their just-released 2012 edition provides some interesting food for thought– as one might expect.
The basics? Let’s start with the fact that, while still just the 25th-most valuable franchise in the majors, the Jays value has jumped by $76-million since their 2011 report– up to $413-million from $331-million last year. That’s a 23% rate of growth, which was the fifth-best in the Majors.
Their operating income– aka the difference between operating revenues and operating expenses– was at $24.9-million. That’s the second highest figure the team has pulled in over the last decade– and $14.9-million more than the operating income of the Yankees and ninth overall.
You’ll never guess why they believe that is.
“The television rights fee paid to the Toronto Blue Jays by Rogers Sportsnet doubled in 2011,” they write. “TSN, which had been televising a handful of games, no longer shows the team’s games. Both the Blue Jays and Sportsnet are subsidiaries of Rogers Communications. This jump in television revenue helped boost the team’s operating income to $25 million from $4 million the previous season. The bottom line was also goosed by the team’s low payroll. The Blue Jays have been in the lower third of the league’s payroll the past two seasons.”
Forbes also provides a breakdown of the franchise’s valuation, which interestingly reports that only $44-million of the club’s value (10.6%) is attributable to its brand. Forbes doesn’t say what goes into this number, but the number for the Yankees is $363-million (19.8%), while the Red Sox– who were passed as the second most valuable franchise by the Dodgers– are at $192-million (19.2%). Clearly the Jays aren’t misguided in their attempts to re-brand and to strengthen their brand across the country– nebulous as the terminology Forbes is using may be.
So… ya. Bottom line is, as far as I can tell, the Jays made some money last year. And while it would be easy to get offended at how they failed to re-invest it over the off-season, let’s not forget that the operating income Forbes reported for them in 2011 was just $3.6-million. If they’re able to sustain such levels and still won’t budge, then we’re probably safe to lose our shit.
For now… I don’t know… maybe it bodes well for the future. I mean the stuff about the increase in TV revenues certainly sounds like it does, as long as it doesn’t somehow end up back in Rogers’ pocket. And, y’know, assuming that we should even take what Forbes says seriously. Which, frankly, we probably shouldn’t.