Forbes Likes The Mariners

March 23, 2016

Forbes released their annual list of MLB team values today.  While always controversial, the exercise provides some interesting information.  And valuable blog material!  The Mariners value of $1.2B, for 12th out of the 30 clubs, represents a slight uptick from last year’s $1.1B for 14th place.  This comes on the heels of the club announcing a $7.2M operating profit for 2015.  The 12th place showing this year demonstrates the club is outperforming its market size, likely aided by its majority stake in ROOT Sports NW.  Well done.  They can do better.

As Mike Ozanian of Forbes states in the link above:

“Ancillary businesses are what separate the big boys (teams worth over $2 billion) from their less valuable rivals because MLB’s 30 teams equally share 27% of the league’s overall revenue, versus 65% for the NFL. This is why big market teams with business models that reach beyond the diamond dominate the top of our rankings.”

And it doesn’t have to be just big market teams.  The M’s already have their RSN, which they could make more valuable by adding compelling programming.  They’ve also added concerts and occasional WWE at Safeco Field.  A college football bowl game and national team soccer matches were even hosted before locating across the street to the more suitable CenturyLink Field.

What else?  How about investing in an arena and NHL franchise next door?  That would fit with taking advantage of their place within the Stadium District. Yes, they don’t seem keen on an arena right now.

And while the CLink has taken soccer and college football, it wouldn’t (shouldn’t?) risk hosting an outdoor hockey game given the likelihood of rain.  But Safeco Field and it’s roof might work for an annual game between the Seattle Thunderbirds and Everett Silvertips.  They could even televise it on ROOT, a WHL partner.  Sure, it’s not the NHL.  But the league doesn’t really do neutral site games anymore.  But a WHL Winter Classic at Safeco could potentially generate more revenue for the M’s, and provide a tent-pole event for the local hockey community.

The point of all of this being that the club, while doing well financially, can do even better with a bit more risk taking.  From ROOT to Safeco Field to nearby real estate, the opportunities are there to increase team value beyond on-field performance.