Forbes, the fine purveyor of financial news and copied & pasted blog posts, has released their annual list of Most Valuable Baseball Franchises, and despite the lackluster product on the field in 2015, and low fan turnout at the stadium, Arte Moreno's favorite rich man's sandbox(the Angels) is STILL chugging along in the top 10. They're #8, to be exact, but let's take a quick look at the list.
|Yankees||$3.4 B||$516 mil|
|Dodgers||$2.5 B||$438 mil|
|Red Sox||$2.3 B||$398 mil|
|Giants||$2.25 B||$409 mil|
|Cubs||$2.2 B||$340 mil|
|Mets||$1.65 B||$313 mil|
|Cardinals||$1.6 B||$300 mil|
|Angels||$1.34 B||$312 mil|
|Nationals||$1.3 B||$293 mil|
|Phillies||$1.24 B||$263 mil|
The good news here is that the Angels haven't really missed a bit or slipped up, compared to recent year's rankings, and that's despite the myriad ways they've bungled things over the past 12 months or so. They've navigated the murky, raw sewage that was the fan's reactions to NOT making a big LF free agent signing; Arte has survived a public flogging at the hands of Josh Hamilton's self-reporting birch and lived to count the money he was able to stash away; they even ousted a GM mid-season and finished third in the AL West, but financially, they're managing to tread water and hope for a miracle.
In 2013 they ranked 9th, 2014 they fell back to 10th, but in 2015 they pole vaulted up to eighth and snuck over the $1 billion mark, to boot, and 2016 sees them sitting in that same spot, but with more revenue under their belts. This despite the worst ticket sales they've had since the salad days of the mid-to-late 200s, and further signals on the horizon that the Red Polo Brigade is scrambling to fill up seats before people find out the 2016 is more of the same from last year. If the team isn't destined for glory and rag tag greatness this upcoming season, then i'd have to assume that their value is set to take a nose dive.
The only saving grace is money coming off the books in the next couple seasons, but that will prove to only artificially bolster the bottom line...addition via subtraction, not butts in seats and Rally Monkey baubles sold. That may be the only way that Arte Moreno is moved to make some big, but more importantly, smart personnel and contract decisions in the coming years. If he can put out a middling team whose chances at a winning season rest on pure luck and Billy Eppler scratching as many waiver wire lottery tickets as he can, and the team STILL make money...then he's got no incentive to budge in his ways. They've only gotten more circumspect in their moves related to the team in recent years, and they're revenue and operating income is only getting bigger.
The front office can relax for now, but after this coming season, if they don't have something to show for it and Moreno puts the fans through another shoddy off-season, then there is going to be a massive pumping of the Halos' brakes. Either way, Arte will be OK in the end...but what about us? It's about to get surprisingly sunny at the Big A, or predictably dreary. Not much room for the middle ground any more.