Monday December 4, 2023

MLB Commish Floats $2.2B Expansion Fee

  • Commissioner Rob Manfred floated a price tag of $2.2 billion as an entry fee for any team that wants to join MLB.
  • Steve Cohen recently bought the Mets for $2.4 billion.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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With supply reduced, tickets to a baseball game can run up to $220 or even higher — but even at that price, you could get 10 million tickets for what it would cost to start a new team.

Speaking at a SporticoLive online discussion, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred floated a price tag of $2.2 billion as the cost of admission into the league. That’s about 17 times the $130 million the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays paid to join in 1998.

And that number is simply the entry fee. It doesn’t include stadium costs, player salaries, or any other expenses associated with running a team.

Manfred cited the need to offset the dilution of revenue sharing from adding teams to the league as a big reason for the hefty price tag, as well as the expected value of a franchise.

Anyone hoping to own an MLB team might want to look and see if any existing ones are on the market first.

  • Steve Cohen paid $2.4 billion for the New York Mets, baseball’s sixth-most valuable team, per Forbes, in November.
  • The median team in Forbes’ valuations, the Toronto Blue Jays, was worth $1.68 billion.

The league is expected to add two teams at some point, though Manfred has said that won’t happen until the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays, the 26th- and 29th-most valuable teams, have new stadiums. The price tag for the A’s new ballpark comes in at $12 billion.

Charlotte, Las Vegas, Nashville, Portland, and Montreal, which lost the Expos in 2004, are oft-named candidates for a new team, when the time comes.

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