One brief look at a list of MLB team valuations in 2020 makes you understand that baseball is a business, and a booming one at that. However, the business aspect of the game has been surrounded by a lot of pessimism and negativity lately.
Despite a reported rise in team valuations in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, finances have been a major problem area in making progress toward a resumption of baseball. Owners and players are tied up in negotiations that have caused players like Blake Snell and Bryce Harper to declare that they aren't happy with potential pay cuts. The players do have a lot to lose in addition to taking on a significant risk and potentially having to endure separation from family, but the owners also have a lot to lose if the season can't get underway. Patrick Rische, a sports management director, told ESPN that the league is losing around $75 million every day that the season is on hiatus, and a lot of that falls on the owners.
While each new player complaint brings to light their salaries before and after the potential pay cuts, what's talked about less frequently is how much the owners are worth. Today, we've compiled every MLB owner, ranked by their reported net worth from either Forbes or Celebrity Net Worth.
Reliable reports of net worth weren't available for all team owners, which is why Ken Kendrick (Diamondbacks), Charlie Monfort (Rockies), Bruce Sherman (Miami), Robert Nutting (Pirates) and William DeWitt (Cardinals) aren't on the list. In addition, the Braves and the Blue Jays are owned by corporations as opposed to individuals, and will not be included on the list.
This narrows our count down to 23 teams and their respective owners. We've divided them into tears to break it down further. Let's dive in.
Less Than $1 Billion: Small Market Teams, and the Mets
Stuart Sternberg (Rays): $800 Million
Mark Attanasio (Brewers): $700 Million
Ron Fowler (Padres): $500 Million
Fred Wilpon (Mets): $500 Million
Bob Castellini (Reds): $400 Million
While the fact of the matter is that the Mets play second fiddle to the Yankees in the New York market, you can still consider them a tier above the rest of the teams in this cluster in terms of market size. There have been several reported suitors that looked to purchase the team, whether it was Steve Cohen ($14 billion net worth) or power couple Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez (estimated $700-$800 million net worth).
Though both of those potential buyers no longer seem to be options, super agent Scott Boras said that all the franchise needs is "the right astronauts on the platform" in order to see the organization take off, in a Boras-esque metaphor. Back in late February, MLB insider Jon Heyman said he thought a sale might come "quick", but we're still waiting to hear when that might be and who might be involved.
$1 to $2 Billion: Cubs Worth Nearly Double White Sox Despite Similar Owner Net Worth
Peter Angelos (Orioles) : $2 Billion
John Fisher (Athletics): $2 Billion
Ray Davis (Rangers): $2 Billion
Ricketts Family (Cubs): $1.8 Billion
Jerry Reinsdorf (White Sox): $1.8 Billion
John Stanton (Mariners): $1.1 Billion
John Sherman (Royals): $1 Billion
In Forbes' 2020 team valuations, the Cubs ranked fourth on the list at $3.2 billion, while the White Sox were ranked No. 14 at $1.65 billion. The value of the Cubs has notably surged since their acquisition by the Ricketts family, led by Joe Ricketts, though ownership responsibilities were given to his four children (Tom, Pete, Laura and Todd). The elder Ricketts founded TD Ameritrade and took majority ownership of the Cubs in his 2009 acquisition of the team and the famous Wrigley Field.
The White Sox are owned by Reinsdorf, who also owns the NBA's Chicago Bulls and had a prominent role in the recent ESPN documentary "The Last Dance". Though he's primarily known for his ownership of sports teams, he got his start in real estate.
$2.5-$3.5 Billion: The Battle for LA
Arturo and Carole Moreno (Angels): $3.3 Billion
John Middleton (Phillies): $3.3 Billion
Mark Walter (Dodgers): $3.1 Billion
John Henry (Red Sox): $2.6 Billion
Jim Crane (Astros): $2.5 Billion
Though Mark Walter is the principal owner and is worth a whopping $3.1 billion, there are several prominent names who hold partial ownership of the franchise, some of which are more recognizable than Walter's.
One of these is Magic Johnson, whose Magic Johnson Enterprises is estimated to be worth around $1 billion. He became co-owner of the Dodgers in 2012 and has been a part of the Los Angeles sports landscape in several ways, becoming a world-renowned star in his playing days with the Lakers, and co-owning both the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA and LAFC of Major League Soccer.
Another is Billie Jean King, the tennis legend who, along with her partner Ilana Kloss, also has ownership of the Sparks.
Over $3.5 Billion: The Dolans Top the List
Larry Dolan and Family (Indians): $4.6 Billion
Charlie Johnson (Giants): $4 Billion
Ted and Mark Lerner (Nationals): $3.9 Billion
Hal Steinbrenner (Yankees): $3.8 Billion
Jim Pohlad (Twins): $3.8 Billion
Ilitch Family (Tigers): $3.8 Billion
If you're a sports fan, you've probably heard the last name Dolan at some point. Though James Dolan may be the name recognized the most nationally, due to his ownership of the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers -- and the fans' chants of "Fire Dolan" that spread across the internet -- it's Larry Dolan and his son, Paul, who are the owners of MLB's Indians. Paul is considered the controlling owner, as he oversees the daily operations of the club.