The Tampa Bay Rays are Major League Baseball’s least valuable team, according to an annual ranking by Forbes magazine.
The magazine estimated the Rays were worth $485 million, an 8 percent increase from 2013.
At the other end, Forbes ranks the New York Yankees at the top of the list for the 17th straight year. The Yankees’ estimated value was $2.5 billion, up 9 percent from last year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were next at $2 billion, a 24 percent hike and matching their actual sale price in 2012. Following were the Boston Red Sox ($1.5 billion), Chicago Cubs ($1.2 billion), San Francisco Giants ($1 billion) and Philadelphia Phillies ($975 million).
Forbes called the Rays the “best low-revenue team in baseball” but plagued with “an antiquated and difficult-to-get-to stadium.”
Despite some of the lowest ticket prices ($21 average) in the majors, the Rays had the lowest average attendance (18,645) last season, the magazine said.
The team has said it cannot have sustained success — 90-plus wins five of the past six seasons — at Tropicana Field until its contract ends in 2027 and wants to look at other stadium sites in the region. Forbes estimated the Rays with a revenue of $181 million and operating income of $15.3 million.
“The Rays generated 66 percent more wins-per-dollar spent on payroll than the average MLB average last season,” second only to the Oakland Athletics, the magazine said.
Joining Tampa Bay are the bottom of the rankings were the Kansas City Royals ($490 million), Athletics ($495 million) and Miami Marlins ($500 million), who begin their third year this season at Marlins Park.
Major League Baseball’s average team value rose 9 percent to $811 million. According to Forbes, those values rose primarily because of increased media rights fees.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.