In Baltimore, a Stadium Promise Unfulfilled

Projections that new sports stadiums in Baltimore would generate hundreds of new jobs and bring economic rebirth to downtown fell short, underscoring a trend in which expensive stadium deals across the country often fail to deliver promised benefits.

Published Nov. 25, 2013

  • Methodology

    The average value of a Major League Baseball team is $1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The American League champion Boston Red Sox rank third at $2.1 billion and the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals rank 15th at $805 million. Here are the elements that compose the value of the league's 30 teams.

    Baseball Activities

    In calculating Major League Baseball team values, Bloomberg News examines revenue from tickets sales, concessions, sponsorships and broadcast rights, as well as interests in TV channels, radio stations and real estate.

    Data for franchise valuations is provided by sports bankers, media consultants, municipalities, financial statements and people familiar with team operations. Calculations for the 2012 season are made available to each team and MLB for review and comment. Four teams didn’t return calls or e-mails. Sixteen declined to comment.

    Those who responded include Bob Quinn, Molly Jolly, Lisa Pantages and Ken Stefanov, the chief financial officers of the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants and Cleveland Indians, respectively. Larry Baer, the president and CEO of the Giants, and Bob Rose, the director of public relations for the Oakland Athletics, also commented, as did people with knowledge of five other teams who asked not to be identified because the team's financial information is private.

    Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement between the owners and players, revenue from large-market teams is shared with smaller-region franchises. Revenue sharing calculations are based on a total pool of $360 million, according to Rob Manfred, the chief operating officer of MLB. Allocations to individual teams are based on information provided by MLB, former Toronto Blue Jays president Paul Godfrey, and Dennis Howard of the University of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.

Downtown Baltimore Before and After Stadiums

Building new stadiums was supposed to spur development in downtown Baltimore, including poorer neighborhoods to the west, such as Pigtown, where the foreclosure and violent crime rates are among the highest in the city. Instead, most new development, including new luxury hotels and condominiums, has occurred east of the stadiums.

Major residential and commercial development near downtown after 1992

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Photos: © 2013 DIGITALGLOBE INC.
Note: Development on the University of Maryland – Baltimore campus is excluded.
Sources: Data compiled by Bloomberg from city property records, the Baltimore Development Corp. and local media; Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance