Toronto Blue Jays: Breaking down Forbes’ latest MLB team valuations

Forbes released their 23rd annual MLB team valuations and despite the Toronto Blue Jays’ average ranking, they are actually in a reasonably strong position.

Fair or not, a lot of critics would describe the Toronto Blue Jays as an average organization. Courtesy of Forbes, those same critics now have some monetary information to back up their opinion.

As per Bryan Mcwilliam of theScore, on Thursday Forbes released their 23rd annual MLB team valuations. The Blue Jays ranked right in the middle of the pack at 15th, with a valuation of $1.625 billion. (Please note all figures for this article are in US dollars.)

This figure places the Blue Jays under the average MLB team valuation of $1.85 billion. For perspective however, only 11 of the 30 organizations are at or above this figure.

The New York Yankees have ranked top every year since Forbes started their MLB team valuations. They are now valued at $5 billion, and second among all professional sports teams who Forbes evaluate.

Understandably, there are people who either wonder how Forbes calculate their valuations or just question their validity altogether. Here is a breakdown of the methodology, courtesy of forbes.com:

Revenue and operating income figures are for the 2019 season (including playoffs) and are net of revenue sharing, stadium debt payments. Team values are enterprise values (equity plus net debt). Revenue and expenses of team-owned real estate (stadiums, stores, parking lots, etc.) owned by the team are included in our valuations, but the value of the real estate itself is excluded.

It is fair to wonder how much the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic influenced this year’s valuations. As reported by Mike Ozanian and Kurt Badenhausen of forbes.com, the average MLB team value rose 4% from last year, which represented the smallest increase since 2010.

(It will be interesting to see how the values are impacted this time next year. The longer we go without any games, the worse the potential financial implications.)

For the Toronto Blue Jays specifically their value rose by 8%, which was tied for fourth-best in all of baseball. According to Forbes they have a revenue of $265 million, although their operating income of $16 million is actually third-lowest in the Majors.

There were a couple of points which stood out in Forbes’ individual report on the Blue Jays, with the first mentioning how attendance has dropped by a significant 48% since 2016. This is not surprising with the team in a major rebuild, although they will be hoping the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette have them contending again sooner than later.

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Secondly, Forbes suggested the franchise is pondering whether to undergo a major renovation to their stadium or build a new one. Without meaning to sound too cynical, we won’t hold out hope of either option being implemented anytime soon.

Overall, ranking 15th is actually pretty decent, especially when they’re the only Canadian franchise in a North American sports league of 30 teams. Here is a look back at some of the Blue Jays’ previous valuations and rankings by Forbes:

  • 2019: $1.50 billion (16th)
  • 2018: $1.35 billion (16th)
  • 2017: $1.30 billion (16th)
  • 2016: $900 million (22nd)
  • 2015: $870 million (22nd)
  • 2014: $610 million (18th)

To provide some final context to how well-placed the Blue Jays and how much they have grown, consider that Rogers paid $137 million for an 80% stake in them during 2000. Pending the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, baseball is doing just fine in Toronto.

Next: A look at Blue Jays' 2020 amateur draft allocation

What’s your opinion of the Toronto Blue Jays’ ranking this year by Forbes? More generally speaking, do you place any importance on the annual MLB team valuations (or for professional sports in general)? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.