M’s valuation drops
The new Forbes franchise value numbers (“Disputed by MLB since we started”) are out. Warning: annoying “welcome screen” ahead.
The M’s dropped 9% as years of losing and last year’s disastrous season caught up to them, along I presume with the expiration of the amazingly rich KOMO broadcast deal. Here’s the Mariners detail page which has some nice graphs but not a whole lot of useful information.
They do note “The team is having trouble selling season tickets and suites for 2009” (which we’ve talked about a little here). We saw last year there were just a huge number of no-shows, and it’s pretty clear the team took a huge hit when they decided not to renew.
The Yankees and Mets lead, which makes sense given that they have new stadiums to better exploit the richest media market in the country. But just behind them is the Rays, now valued at $320m after their turnaround. In relevant news, however, both teams are having trouble filling their super-premium-awesome seats, which makes it look on TV like people aren’t attending the games, which in turn makes me laugh. I’d feel bad, but I can’t. It’s bad enough Selig’s annoyed, but what are they going to do? Dropping the prices is going to severely piss off the people who already bought, but the teams aren’t going to want to give refunds to them.
What might end up the interesting story is the debt/value ratio. If you remember, a couple years ago Selig was trying to use this as a lever to drive down team spending. But it’s a lot harder to find financing compared to a few years ago (as Tom Hicks is discovering). If teams were carrying massive short-term debt expecting they’d be able to continually refinance, they could be in serious trouble in the next few years. It’s hard not to look at that chart of team debt and wonder how many of them could have issues.