Bloomberg's latest MLB franchise value rankings has four of MLB's 30 teams having a worth of $2 billion or more. Those four teams (New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets) skew the average value of an MLB franchise, currently estimated by Bloomberg to be $1 billion.
The Detroit Tigers isn't one of those teams with a billion dollar valuation, ranked 14th overall with an estimated total franchise worth of $830 million. Their revenue of $245 million has the Tigers 11th in MLB.
Bloomberg claims data used in their franchise valuations include gate receipts (The Tigers' main source of revenue at $95M, 11th in MLB), concessions ($19M, 14th) sponsorships ($21M, 15th), media rights ($85M, 9th) and parking ($6M, 6th). This is all based off the Tigers' attendance of 3.1 million, sixth overall in MLB in 2013.
To put these numbers in perspective (and to point out they truly are guesstimates, at best), the Forbes franchise rankings from earlier this year has the Tigers as the 13th most valuable franchise, pegging their worth at $643 million on an operating revenue of $238 million.
Considering Mike Ilitch bought the Tigers for a mere $92 million in 1992, if the team ever changes hands, the Ilitch family will do quite well.
As for the AL Central, the Tigers aren't the most valuable team in the division. To no one's surprise, that honor goes to the large market Chicago White Sox, assessed at $930 million, 11th overall in MLB. The Minnesota Twins' worth is greatly buoyed by their new stadium, which elevates their current value to $700 million, 19th in MLB.
The small-market Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals sit near the bottom of the Bloomberg list. The Tribe are 28th at $575 million, while the Royals are above only the Tampa Bay Rays in value, currently estimated to be $540 million.
Regardless what these yearly rankings say, the actual worth of a team is whatever an owner can get someone to pay them. The selling price of any pro sports franchise quite likely would be more than than what either Bloomberg or Forbes believe.
In other words, take these estimated valuations with a grain of salt.