Forbes magahzine loves to provide money rankings, and people love reading them.  For the 23rd year, the bean-counters behind the curtains at the journal have put together a list of all MLB teams in order of they valuations, and the top spot won’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Of course, the current structure doesn’t take into account the damage that is going to be caused by the coronavirus, and next year’s list could potentially see some movement in the ranks.  Based on its history, though, the number-one team will almost certainly retain its title.

Forbes MLB Franchise List – Pinstripes Lead

MLB was forced to suspend its games just as baseball fans were getting warmed up for Opening Day.  While this will, no doubt, have an impact on valuations going forward, the clubs, according to Forbes, have so far increased in value so far this year.  At the top of the Forbes MLB franchise list, where the team has been located for 23 years, the New York Yankees proudly claim a much higher valuation than any other team.

The Bronx Bombers are reportedly worth $5 billion – 9% more than last year.  The team picked up $683 million in revenue last year, and the percentage increase is only matched by two other teams in the league – the Washington Nationals, who took the World Series, and the Baltimore Orioles.  The Yankees’ valuation makes it the second-highest ranked sports team in the US, just behind the Dallas Cowboys.

Next in line are the LA Dodgers.  The team has a valuation of $3.4 billion, helped, in part, by the $556 million in revenue it earned prior to Forbes releasing its list today.  That valuation is only a modest increase over what the team had last year, and represents just a 3% improvement – barely enough to cover inflation.

The Dodgers and the next three teams are only separated by about $100 million each.  The Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants, in that order, round out the top five.  All of them share 3% increases in valuation over what they claimed last year.

Not All Positive For MLB Teams

Moving down the list, there are some entries that club owners definitely aren’t happy about.  For example, the Arizona Diamondbacks, valued at $1.29 billion, had no increase in the valuation, according to Forbes.  However, it could have been worse.  The Pittsburgh Pirates actually dropped 1%, shrinking to $1.26 billion.  In addition to the Diamondbacks, four other teams had no change in their valuations – the Detroit Tigers, the Cleveland Indians, the Oakland A’s and the Kansas City Royals.

Rounding out the 30-team list, the Miami Marlins are in last place.  It’s the same position they have held for the past several years, only making a jump one time.  In 2017, the Marlins were ranked 25 with a valuation of $940 million.

The Coronavirus Could Upset Apple Cart

MLB is a multibillion-dollar organization.  It should be, after the amount of time it has been around and the number of exclusive deals it has been able to secure for naming rights, broadcasting rights, marketing rights and more.  However, all the hard work that went into teams’ efforts to improve their valuations over the past year might be completely wiped out.

As the coronavirus continues to unleash its fury and prevent the 2020 season from starting, the league is losing millions of dollars, with millions more at risk.  Inevitably, the losses could wipe out a substantial part of the gains, but not the entire amount.

The league is still hopeful that it can play 100 games, at a minimum, which would be around 66% of what should be on the board.  A controversial plan has all teams meeting in Phoenix, but this hasn’t been met with much enthusiasm on the part of players.  If the games can start up, in Phoenix or elsewhere, then MLB will be able to pick up much of the revenue it would have if the games had started as planned.

There’s virtually no chance that reimbursement of any major broadcasting contracts would be in order, so that money is already in the bank, as well.  However, the sooner the league can get going, the better it will be for everyone.