Karl's Blog

San Francisco Giants Worth Twice as Much as Oakland Athletics but Both Clubs Doing Just Fine

The Oakland Athletics are worth $495 million, making the club the third-least valuable franchise in all of MLB, according to a report by Mike Ozanian of Forbes.com.

That’s not even half of the valuation of the cross-bay rival San Francisco Giants, who check in at a cool one billion dollars, the fifth most in all of baseball. The New York Yankees top the list for the 17th year in a row at $2.5 billion.

However, don’t feel too bad for Lew Wolff, John Fisher and the rest of the A’s ownership group.

In 2013, the club took in $187 million in revenue (No. 26 in baseball), and had an operating income of $27.4 million, which was actually the seventh best in the league. According to Forbes, the club is “profitable only because of the league’s revenue-sharing system.”

Meanwhile, the Giants brought in $316 million in revenue (No. 3 in baseball) and had an operating income of $53.3 million, the third best in MLB.

So, just who landed ahead of the Giants on the list?

Unsurprisingly, the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most intelligently run franchises in all of sports, led the way with an operating income of $65.2 million. But the real shocker, at least for me, was that the Houston Astros ended up in second with an operating income of $55.9 million. Apparently, tanking pays. In total, 19 MLB teams were profitable in 2013.

The fact that the A’s hauled in the seventh-largest operating income in all of baseball last year helps explain why Wolff and Co. are pursuing a 10-year lease extension at the O.co Coliseum. As it turns out, the current setup is actually quite lucrative for the ownership group. It also makes me wonder just how profitable the A’s could be if the club actually managed to build a new stadium at either Howard Terminal or the Coliseum site.

Feel free to chime in with your take on the economic situation of the A’s, Giants or even the Astros, in the comments section below.

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