The Los Angeles Dodgers ($2.5 billion), Boston Red Sox ($2.3 billion), San Francisco Giants ($2.25 billion) and Chicago Cubs ($2.2 billion) rounded out the top five.
The Colorado Rockies ($860 million), Cleveland Indians ($800 million), Oakland Athletics ($725 million), Miami Marlins ($675 million) and Tampa Bay Rays ($650 million) made up the bottom five clubs on the list.
The defending champion Kansas City Royals ($865 million) were 25th on the list, though their value increased 24 percent after their championship. As Ozanian wrote, the Royals smartly used their share of the revenue-sharing pie over the years to build a competitive farm system and MLB roster.
Allowing smaller-market teams to compete is a major bonus for a revenue-sharing system.
As Ozanian noted, however, a team's value often has much more to do with its many outside business ventures:
But in reality, a big reason why someone would be willing to pay seven times revenue for the Yankees instead of, say, the MLB average of five times revenue, is the ability to extend the team’s brand, acumen and relationships beyond baseball into ventures such as Legends Hospitality, the YES Network, Major League Soccer and college football.
Ancillary businesses are what separate the big boys (teams worth over $2 billion) from their less valuable rivals because MLB’s 30 teams equally share 27% of the league’s overall revenue, versus 65% for the NFL. This is why big market teams with business models that reach beyond the diamond dominate the top of our rankings.
For the Dodgers, their relationship with Time Warner Cable dramatically increases their value. The Red Sox are owned by the Fenway Sports Group, which also owns Premier League side Liverpool and half of Roush Fenway Racing.
While the league's most valuable teams contribute the most to the revenue-sharing pie, "money earned by non-MLB entities are not taxed," per Ozanian. That makes having non-MLB revenue sources attached to a team's brand vital for modern organizations.
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