The Tigers are in rebuilding mode on the field, despite surprising early season success. But business is booming, overall, for the storied franchise.
Forbes, in its annual list of Major League Baseball franchise valuations, reports the Tigers are worth $1.25 billion.
That’s quite the return of investment for the Ilitch family, whose patriarch, the late Mike, bought the franchise for $85 million in 1992. Factoring inflation, that’s about $154 million in today’s dollars.
That means the franchise is worth eight times more today than what Ilitch paid for it.
Still, the Tigers rank among the bottom tier, 21st out of 30 MLB teams, in overall value.
Forbes estimates the New York Yankees are baseball’s most valuable franchise at $4.6 billion, up 15 percent from its figure last year.
The Dodgers are second at $3.3 billion, followed by the World Series champion Red Sox at $3.2 billion, the Cubs ($3.1 billion), Giants ($3 billion) and the Mets ($2.3 billion).
The Yankees’ YES Network broadcasts Forbes “SportsMoney” television show.
Forbes’ franchise values list released Wednesday estimates the Marlins as the least valuable team at $1 billion, just behind Tampa Bay ($1.01 billion).
Forbes reports the average baseball team is worth $1.78 billion, up more than 8% from last year. In its 22 calculating MLB values, teams have averaged an 11% growth year over year.
In that same span, NBA teams have increased by an average of 13% year over year, according to Forbes, while NFL franchises have grown an average of 12% a year.
The Tigers are the second-most-valuable franchise in the AL Central, behind only White Sox ($1.6 billion).