SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- Each year, Forbes magazine comes out with a preseason ranking of Major League Baseball teams, based on their "enterprise value (equity plus net debt)," according to the magazine.
The Chicago Cubs, ranked fifth at $2.2 billion, are undertaking a $450 million renovation of historic Wrigley Field and also want to develop the land near the ballpark–an extravagant plaza property, one that will house restaurants, office space and entertainment. By 2020, the Cubs hope to see through the creation of a Cubs television network, mirroring the Yankees’ YES Network that launched in 2002. Investors have bought in. A little over a year ago, the Cubs raised a total of $150 million of equity to help fund the renovations by selling minority interests to investors.
As I recall, the Cubs were selling equity shares in $25 million increments, so unless they sold more than one to any individual, the Cubs now have six minority investors.
The teams that rank ahead of the Cubs: Yankees ($3.4 billion), Dodgers ($2.5 billion), Red Sox ($2.3 billion) and Giants ($2.25 billion). As you can see, the Cubs are very close to moving ahead of the next three teams and into the second spot behind the Yankees. The Cubs TV network could generate the kind of revenue that might make that happen.The $2.2 billion valuation is nearly three times what the Ricketts family paid for the team six and a half years ago.
The article goes on to talk about some of the things that could be addressed in the CBA negotiations over the course of this season, as well as how the valuations are calculated. There's a slideshow that lists every team's valuation, but if you can get through that, you have more patience with Forbes' website than I did.