Cheap Seats

Forbes rates the majors

Forbes magazine has released its annual report on the value of major league franchises. And the Cardinals once again fare very well against the big boys.

The birds rank in the top eight major league teams in overall value at a cool $486 million. That's even more impressive when you think about the Cardinals market. The teams in front of them are all located in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, amongst the largest cities in the country. Meanwhile they are worth more than Chicago's second class citizen, the White Sox, as well as the clubs from the major metropolises of Houston, Atlanta and San Francisco.

That's not a bad profit for the team's ownership group, which bought it less than a decade and a half ago for $150 million and then sold off the Stadium East and Stadium West parking garages for $100 million. 

The Cardinals rank in the top third of baseball in revenue with $195 million of income in 2008. They were barely edged out by the Phillies and White Sox that tied for eighth at $196 million of revenue.

The Forbes report says the Cardinals made a profit of about $6.6 million last year when you factor in the $17.5 million of debt service they have to pay on the new Busch Stadium. But the report said it's calculations are figured before taxes, so I wonder if it factors in the kickback of the 5 percent amusement tax the city of St. Louis gave the team to help finance the new stadium or the taxpayer supported bond payments...

Never the less, the report and the reality of the Cardinals payroll seems to provide all the evidence one needs that the new Busch Stadium was built not to allow the team to be competitive with major league baseball's elite clubs as ownership stated, but to enhance the value of the franchise via corporate welfare.

Here is the report: