Chicago Cubs Now Worth $3.2 Billion, According to Forbes' Latest Valuations

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Chicago Cubs Now Worth $3.2 Billion, According to Forbes’ Latest Valuations

Chicago Cubs

Even going back to early March, when it became clear that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to impact sports in some really significant ways, a random thought popped into my head because it’s an aspect of baseball I think about a lot: it’s gonna be really bizarre when the annual Forbes Business of Baseball report comes out in April.

I knew back then that things might be pretty darn dire in the country when the report came out, and it was going to register as extremely odd that there’s this fresh report about rosy 2019 baseball finances at a time when the sport isn’t even being played, a time when players might not fully get paid, a time when employees everywhere are being laid off and furloughed, a time when the very existence of the minor leagues as we know it is threatened, and on and on.

But the thing is, it’s a big chunk of data that I really look forward to digesting each year. In April, Forbes reports – as deeply as it can when considering these are private entities – financial data for the 30 Major League teams, based on their prior year numbers. (I can’t even imagine what next year’s Business of Baseball is going to look like.)

That is all to say, I understand the backdrop against which this information comes out, but I don’t necessarily blame Forbes for proceeding with their scheduled release today. We all know things are really tough right now. But some of us just want to think about things we find interesting.

The full report is here, and is worth perusing if you find the financial side of the game interesting like I do.

As you might expect for the Cubs, their overall revenue continued its rapid ascent since the Ricketts Family took over and revamped the organization (business ops changed completely, Wrigley Field became a much more valuable enterprise, and – obviously – the Cubs started being competitive). Forbes reports $471 million in revenue to the Cubs organization in 2019, continuing a climb from the $250 million range just a decade ago. That said, expenses were up substantially in 2019, so operating income was at its lowest level since 2016 (and that $68 million operating income figure is before taxes, depreciation, amortization, and one-off large capital outlays like building out a new TV network).

Still, with pro sports franchises, so much of what you “make” as the owner is in the appreciation of your asset. On that front, the Cubs organization just keeps ballooning in value, now up to $3.2 billion, per Forbes, up $100 million from this time last year. That’s the 4th most valuable franchise, behind the Yankees ($5 billion), Dodgers ($3.4 billion), and Red Sox ($3.3 billion). The Giants ($3.1 billion) are the only other organization in that top tier, as the Mets come in sixth at $2.4 billion.

As is often the case when this data comes out, I’ll be getting back into it throughout the year as context dictates. It’s not perfect, so you can’t treat the numbers as gospel. But when I’m digging in on various financial issues throughout the year, the Forbes data often serves as a useful bit of background and estimation. Check it all out.


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.