Forbes MLB Team Valuations: Cubs Rank Fourth, White Sox 10th

Every year, Forbes magazine releases a set of valuations ranking sports teams by current estimated franchise value. Forbes has just released its MLB valuations and this year the magazine claims MLB's teams have emerged from the recession with higher values. Some cities and teams might quibble with that, but the article says that the average MLB franchise is worth $523 million, up 7% from last year and only three teams -- the Mets, Indians and Padres -- lost value.

The Cubs' estimated value, ranking fourth in all of baseball, is $773 million, about $70 million less than the Ricketts family paid for them less than two years ago. The Cubs are said to have total revenues of $258 million and operating income of $23.5 million. Meanwhile, the Sox moved into the game's top third, ranking 10th, with an even higher operating income of $27.2 million on lower revenues than the Cubs had: $210 million.

Who's the most profitable MLB team? The answer, from the article, might surprise you:
The most profitable team was the Padres, which had an operating income of $37 million in 2010. The team’s attendance surged by 200,000 at Petco Park as the Padres finished just two games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West. The Padres managed to post a 90-72 record despite a payroll of just $38 million, which was the lowest in baseball. The Padres also benefited from a revenue-sharing check of more than $30 million.

Something's wrong with the system if the Padres got enough revenue-sharing to go to the top of the profit list, while not investing money in players, particularly hometown favorite Adrian Gonzalez, who was traded to the Red Sox.

The complete list of teams and valuations is after the jump.

Rank Team Current Value ($ mil) 1-year Value Change (%) Debt/Value (%) Revenue ($ mil) Operating Income ($ mil)
1 New York Yankees 1,700 6 4 427 25.7
2 Boston Red Sox 912 5 26 272 -1.1
3 Los Angeles Dodgers 800 10 54 246 32.8
4 Chicago Cubs 773 6 75 258 23.4
5 New York Mets 747 -13 60 233 -6.2
6 Philadelphia Phillies 609 13 29 239 8.9
7 San Francisco Giants 563 16 21 230 29.9
8 Texas Rangers 561 25 66 206 22.6
9 LA Angels of Anaheim 554 6 10 222 11.8
10 Chicago White Sox 526 13 8 210 27.6
11 St. Louis Cardinals 518 6 53 207 19.8
12 Minnesota Twins 490 21 20 213 26.5
13 Atlanta Braves 482 7 0 201 22.2
14 Houston Astros 474 5 12 197 14.4
15 Seattle Mariners 449 2 15 204 9.9
16 Washington Nationals 417 8 60 194 36.6
17 Colorado Rockies 414 8 19 188 16.3
18 Baltimore Orioles 411 9 37 175 25.5
19 San Diego Padres 406 0 49 159 37.2
20 Arizona Diamondbacks 396 4 25 180 6.2
21 Detroit Tigers 385 3 55 192 -29.1
22 Milwaukee Brewers 376 7 32 179 12.4
23 Cincinnati Reds 375 13 11 179 20.1
24 Florida Marlins 360 13 40 143 20.2
25 Cleveland Indians 353 -10 31 168 12.1
26 Kansas City Royals 351 3 14 160 10.3
27 Toronto Blue Jays 337 3 0 168 3.6
28 Tampa Bay Rays 331 5 35 166 6.8
29 Oakland Athletics 307 4 29 161 23.2
30 Pittsburgh Pirates 304 5 42 160 26.4

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