The Royals had their first losing season since 2012 last year, with dropping attendance figures despite a record-high payroll, but that didn’t hurt the value of the franchise. According to the annual estimates by Forbes magazine, the Royals are now worth over a billion dollars. Forbes pegs the Royals as the 27th most-valuable franchise in baseball, worth $1.015 billion, a 6.8% increase from last year, when they were estimated to be worth $950 million.
According to Forbes’ estimates, the Royals lost $17 million last year, a big jump from the estimated $900,000 they were estimated to have lost in 2016, but far from the $60 million in combined losses the team has claimed. The Royals had a franchise-record $145 million payroll last year on Opening Day, and added payroll in mid-season trades for Melky Cabrera, Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter, and Brandon Maurer. Forbes puts their overall player expenses at $168 million last year, with $245 million in revenues.
The Yankees sit as the most profitable team in baseball, pulling in $647 million in revenues, according to their estimates, making the franchise worth $4 billion. The Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, and Red Sox follow the Bronx Bombers in franchise value.
The only clubs worth less than the Royals are the Reds, Marlins, and Rays. The Forbes’ estimates value the Marlins at $1 billion, less than the actual $1.2 billion the Derek Jeter-led ownership group paid for the team last year. Forbes explains that the lower number is due to the lack of bidders. The club was also saddled with $400 million in debt at the time of the purchase.
Major League Baseball hit a record $10 billion in revenues last year, thanks to increased television money, although attendance suffered a decline. Owners each received a $50 million windfall from the sale of a stake in BAMTech - a technology developed by MLB Advanced Media. Opening Day player payrolls went down 1.2% in 2018 compared to last year.
David Glass purchased the Royals in 2000 for a price of $96 million. Since then, MLB has increased revenue sharing, the city has renovated Kauffman Stadium with the Royals footing just $100 million of the $575 million cost, and MLB signed $12 billion national television contracts. The Royals could be due for more revenues soon as the television deal with Fox Sports Kansas City is set to expire after the 2019 season. The current deal pays the team just $20 million per year, one of the smallest deals in baseball.