Bloomberg has come out with an extensive evaluation/projection of MLB team values and revenues, similar to the annual effort by Forbes. In it, Bloomberg concludes that the Chicago Cubs are worth $1.32 billion – when factoring in some external holdings – and bring in annual revenues of $320 million (I believe that’s a 2013 estimate). That valuation places the Cubs as the fifth most valuable franchise, behind the Yankees ($3.28 billion), Dodgers ($2.1 billion), Red Sox ($2.06 billion), and Mets ($2.05 billion). Note the very, very steep drop-off from the Mets to the Cubs.
In the Forbes analysis, which was based on 2012 numbers, the Chicago Cubs franchise was valued at an even $1 billion. It turns out that Bloomberg and Forbes are valuing the Cubs at the same figure. How so? Bloomberg says the Cubs’ “team value” is $1 billion – same as Forbes – but it throws in the Cubs’ $110 million share of MLB Advanced Media (each team owns an equal portion), $181 million for the Cubs’ share in CSN Chicago, and $32 million for “related business,” aka “other stuff the Cubs own.”
So long as you remember, as with the Forbes report, these are estimates based on whatever information Bloomberg can scrounge up (and is likely to be disputed by the teams), there are some interesting things to see in Bloomberg’s piece. The Cubs’ $320 million in revenue places them fourth in baseball, behind the Dodgers ($325 million) and ahead of the Phillies ($315 million). Bloomberg places the Cubs’ media rights at $90 million annually, which is much higher than previous reports (which have generally had them in the $50 to $60 million range), and is 6th best in baseball. The Cubs fall dramatically short in “sponsorship,” which is no surprise, given the limited advertising presently at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are just 19th in baseball in that area, making just $18 million annually (that will go up dramatically post-renovation).
Something that Bloomberg notes, which I hadn’t seen calculated down to the dollar before, is the amount of money the Cubs give up in revenue sharing. It’s a hell of a lot more than I thought. Bloomberg puts it at $39 million in 2013, third most in baseball. Contrast that with the Cardinals, who give up just $6 million, the Brewers, who gain $19 million, the Reds, who gain $22 million, and the Pirates, who gain $35 million. When we talk about “missing” revenue that the Cubs are or are not spending in-house, don’t forget that $39 million.
It’s a great interactive piece Bloomberg has put together, so do check it out and play with the graph.