Rob Manfred Says MLB Will Consider Expansion Fees Around $2.2B for New Teams

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred answers questions at a press conference during MLB baseball owners meetings, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

If Major League Baseball looks to expand from its current group of 30 teams, commissioner Rob Manfred has an expansion fee in mind for a new franchise.

Speaking at SporticoLive's online discussion on Tuesday (via the Associated Press), Manfred estimated that expansion fees for a brand-new organization would be around $2.2 billion: 

"If in fact these assets are worth an average $2.2 billion, I think that's kind of a lodestar in terms of where you would start in terms of evaluating expansion opportunity. Expansion is not purely additive, right, from the perspective of the existing owners. There are huge shared revenue streams that are diluted as a result of having 32 as opposed to 30 as your denominator, and if that was in fact the expansion number, and that has to be taken into account, as well."

Manfred did note there aren't any plans right now to expand the league. 

In 2016, Manfred told the Baseball Writers' Association of America he wouldn't consider expansion until the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays were able to secure new facilities. 

"Both of those clubs need new major-league-quality facilities," he said, "and until that's resolved, I think expansion has got to be on the back burner for us."

Neither the A's or Rays have been able to obtain public funding from their current cities to build new stadiums to this point. 

Manfred has previously said that if MLB expands, possible locations include Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Nashville, Montreal, Vancouver and potentially some cities in Mexico. 

Per Mike Ozanian of Forbes, the average MLB franchise valuation for the 2021 season is $1.9 billion. The New York Yankees are the most valuable club at $5.25 billion. 

The Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks were the most recent teams that paid an expansion fee to join MLB. Both clubs paid a total of $130 million and began play in 1998.