The Yankees become the first MLB team to be valued at $6 billion on the 2022 list. According to Forbes, the Yankees are the second most valuable sports franchise in the United States, trailing only the National Football League’s (NFL) Dallas Cowboys (US$6.5 billion).
Although the Yankees have the highest overall value in MLB, Forbes reports that the second-ranked Los Angeles Dodgers (US$4.08 billion) have the highest TV local rights revenue with US$189 million. The Yankees, for their part, are said to earn $135 million in local broadcast rights fees.
The Boston Red Sox, valued at US$3.9 billion by Forbes, is MLB’s third most valuable team but does not rank among the top five in terms of local broadcast fees. The Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants are in the top five in Forbes’ overall ranking, with a combined value of US$7.5 billion.
Further down on the list, the Texas Rangers experienced the largest year-over-year (YoY) increase in value of any MLB team, rising 15% to US$2.05 billion and ranking 11th by Forbes.
According to the most recent Forbes list, the average MLB team is now worth $2.07 billion, a 9% increase over 2021 and the largest year-over-year increase in four years.
This is despite MLB teams reportedly losing a total of US$1.14 billion in revenue over the last two seasons as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
MLB appears well-positioned to capitalize on a period of labor peace, having recently secured a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that runs until 2026.
Apple has reached its first sports rights agreement with MLB
The 2022 season will be the first with full capacity crowds across the board since the pandemic’s start, which will take place on April 7th. Furthermore, MLB’s new media rights contracts with Apple, Fox, and ESPN, as well as potentially NBC, will result in broadcast revenue exceeding US$2 billion and being at least 30% higher than the last cycle.
MLB and its 30 teams have generated $1.13 billion all in commercial revenue last year, according to new sponsorship consultancy IEG research. This data depicts a 5% rise over the previous season and a 25% improvement over the league’s performance in 2017.
Practically speaking, the YoY gain was bigger last year, as sponsorship income calculations for 2020 were based on a projected commitment of US$1.08 billion before the pandemic-enforced revisions for the shorter 60-game season.
According to the IEG report, MLB ranks third among US major sports leagues in terms of sponsorship revenue, after the NFL ($1.8 billion) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) ($1.46 billion).
According to IEG’s research, MLB’s teams are the key driving force here, accounting for 69% of a 2021 total that was generated by 990 distinct enterprises and 1,640 overall transactions when compared to other big properties.
This is expected to grow much further in the coming years, with MLB aiming to include helmet and jersey patch sponsorship deals for the 2023 season. According to IEG, jersey deals alone may produce up to $400 million in aggregate yearly income throughout the league, above the projected US$225 million brought in by the NBA’s 30 clubs.
Peter Laatz, IEG’s global managing director, told Sportico that MLB and its clubs tend to do more conventional, apple pie-type sponsorships with the usual suspect brands and categories.
He stated that a new shift has occurred in 2021 with some mid-season crypto wins, a banking partner replacement, and the splitting of the beer category. He then also stated that the league can also achieve a lot of momentum, as it leads toward offering the jersey patch and helmet branding in 2023.