Forbes magazine came out with its annual ranking of Major League Baseball teams according to their own valuations, and the Toronto Blue Jays are ranked 27th on the list,  appraised at $337 million.  That’s just ahead of the Rays, Athletics and Pirates.

As it has come to be expected, the New York Yankees led all other franchises on the list for the fourteenth straight year since Forbes originally started putting together their rankings, with their worth estimated at $1.7 billion.  In fact, if the valuations are accurate, the Yankees revenue from just last season ($427 million) would be enough to purchase the Blue Jays franchise.

While the numbers may be disappointing for as large of a market as Toronto, a comparison to the Expos goes beyond hyperbole.

The Blue Jays are starting to resemble the Montreal Expos, the franchise now called the Washington Nationals because people stopped going to their games after the 1994-95 baseball strike. The team led the American League in attendance six straight years starting in 1989. They drew more than 4 million fans each year from 1991 through 1993. Last year attendance at the Rogers Centre fell 13% to 1.6 million fans. The Blue Jays, owned by Rogers Communications, the largest cable company in Canada had a moderate payroll last season ($79 million) but stand little chance of competing in the American League East, the best division in the majors.

Truth be told, there isn’t a richer owner or ownership group in all of baseball than Rogers Communications, and Forbes isn’t properly accounting for the team’s use as a content provider for their owner’s fleet of sports television and radio networks.  This would also explain the team’s low operating income which is also ranked 27th in the league.

In addition, the Blue Jays along with the Atlanta Braves are the only two teams to have zero in the way of debt.

There’s no financial crisis here.  The ship is running as smoothly as ever.

Comments (8)

  1. Well said. The Expos comparisons drive me nuts.

    You know who could be compared to the Expos? The Phoenix Coyotes. Owned by the league, no apparent local ownership options and losing barrels of money every year.

    The Jays have extraordinarily wealthy, local ownership that uses the team as well rated content for its TV and Radio networks.

    I think people see ‘Canadian baseball team with bad recent attendance’ and jump to Expos.

  2. Tidbits like this make me wonder about the reliability of Forbes’ numbers in general. But I realized long ago that they are the financial world’s Us Weekly. I won’t lose a minute of sleep over how they see things.

  3. rogers attendance stats are BS. they only count full price paid for tickets from what i understand….

    that being said opener sold out (surprise surprise) the fans are here just not interested in being {GETTING BLANKED} further

  4. Forbes also reported Rebecca Black was making millions of dollars from “Friday.”

  5. Forbes also had the Leafs worth 500 million. Let’s see someone buy them for that. Still, it’s not surprising the shitty attendance is raising eyebrows. Ricciardi’s shell game finally turned off the casual fan for good for the first time since the franchise arrived. The Dome used to sell tickets as a building. Not happening now. It’ll take more than Beeston’s affability to get that fan’s money again. Raptors beware.

  6. How much do you think the low prospect of playoff games for them affected their value? I wager that Forbes took some liberties with that factor when calculating, and of course the fact that they are Canadian and they dont likely give much credence to the amount/passion of Canadian fans (they are like the Us weekly of financial media). It really doesn’t matter anyhow, its not like they are looking to sell the team at any point in the near future.

  7. I’m think Nintendo is the richest owner in baseball

  8. I think the most interesting point in this article was the fact that only the Jays and the Braves are operating with zero debt. What is your source for that?

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