Climbing broadcast rights fees, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and the league's investment fund make this the perfect time to own a franchise.
According to the annual Forbes report on the money in baseball, the average team increased in value by 23 percent from a year ago. With the value of the Royals increasing from $354 million to $457 million, the club beat the average, increasing a whopping 29 percent.
They recorded $169 million in revenue, continuing a streak of growth that stretches back at least to 1999. While you may think the All-Star Game is a cash-cow for the team, that's not really the case. In 2011 Royals revenue clocked in at $161 million.
Here's the key, after the dust settles, Forbes reports the Royals cleared $16.3 million last year. Remember how David Glass says he's not making a profit owning the team? Yeah. Forbes disputes that. That number puts the Royals right in the middle of the pack.
The Glass Family's profits declined in 2012 because payroll jumped back up following a depressed year in 2011 following the Zack Greinke trade and the Gil Meche surprise retirement. Still, the profits were substantial. And further strengthens my position that Glass isn't being truthful when he says he's breaking even. Basically, there is no reason this team can't carry a $90 million payroll.
(I'm becoming increasingly ambivalent about the payroll with Dayton Moore in charge anyway. When you carry as much dead money as the Royals do, giving the GM an extra $10 million to spend is like giving that money to a gambling addict in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip. It's going to disappear and all we can hope for is we'll at least get a good story out of how it disappeared.)
The bottom line in all of this is the Royals won-loss record really doesn't matter when the books are closed. Sure, it would nudge the black ink a little higher from year to year but it won't change the market size. While the Royals franchise ranks only ahead of Tampa in total value, we're talking almost a half billion dollars. Enormous money. Glass's initial investment has increased four-fold and the team has finished over .500 just once since he's owned the team. And from the looks of things, it's only going to continue to increase. Glass says he wants to win, but if the Royals value continues to grow with the rest of baseball, the dollars can easily trump the wins.
The initial investment of $96 million is looking pretty good right now. And it looks better for David Glass every single day.