Sure, baseball is a game, romanticized as the "national pastime." But it's also big business.
The most valuable Major League Baseball teams are multibillion-dollar enterprises with annual sales in the hundreds of millions.
Forbes is out with its annual estimates of what MLB teams are worth. Which clubs really knock it out of the park, financially speaking?
Follow along as we count down the 15 most valuable baseball franchises of 2018.
15. Seattle Mariners
Value: $1.45 billion
The Pacific Northwest team has seen its worth grow by 4% in the last year.
The Mariners have a young squad and should see their financial standing continue to improve as the team starts to gel.
Attendance and TV ratings have been dropping for the last few years. But if the team can turn their record around, the gate and TV revenues should increase.
14. Chicago White Sox
Value: $1.5 billion
Though not nearly as high on the list as that other Chicago ball club, the White Sox have earned a spot despite their struggles to attract fans at Guaranteed Rate Field and on TV. The team's value is up 11% from last year.
The White Sox are in the bottom third in the league for attendance, with fewer than 2 million fans coming through the gates last season. And Forbes says their TV ratings were second-worst in the majors.
But the young team now in place could make for a brighter future.
13. Texas Rangers
Value: $1.6 billion
After a losing season in 2017, the Texas Rangers have seen their worth increase by just a slight 3% compared to last year.
A partnership with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters — one of the best teams in Japan — could bring some star players across the Pacific to play at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
The Rangers do well when it comes to TV ratings. If they can ever win a championship, they might be able to overtake their cross-state rivals, the Houston Astros, in the value ranking.
12. Atlanta Braves
Value: $1.63 Billion
The Braves enjoyed a big jump in attendance when they moved into SunTrust Park last season, and that contributed to the franchise's 8% rise in value.
The team had some of baseball's best sales numbers during 2017, and those stats are likely to improve as the Braves put some of the expenses from the new stadium behind them.
They've set themselves up for future success by developing a strong farm system.
11. Houston Astros
Value: $1.65 billion
Thanks to their very first World Series win, the Astros have seen their value surge 14% compared to a year ago.
Houston ranked in the top five for revenue in 2017, and attendance hit an eight-year high.
Owner Jim Crane’s next challenge is to grow the number of season ticket holders at Minute Maid Park. There were 13,000 last season; the goal is 20,000.
10. Washington Nationals
Value: $1.68 billion
The team that used to be the Montreal Expos has seen its fortunes rise dramatically since moving to Washington, D.C., in 2005.
The Nationals' value is up by 5% over last year, thanks largely to strong play on the field. The team won the NL East the last two seasons.
However, their payroll exceeded Major League Baseball's luxury tax threshold, resulting in a $1.2 million penalty and leading to some uncertainty coming into 2018.
9. Philadelphia Phillies
Value: $1.7 billion
The Phillies have seen a 3% rise in valuation from last year. Their strong financial standing is partly due to a rich deal to keep the Phillies on local TV screens.
The 25-year contract with Comcast SportsNet began in 2016 and is worth more than $5 billion!
The team made some good free agent additions in the off-season and is hoping to stay out of their division cellar, where they wound up in two out of the last three seasons.
8. Los Angeles Angels
Value: $1.8 billion
The Angels — who still play in Anaheim, about 30 miles from downtown L.A. — recently landed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, and with this signing came a major sponsorship from Japan's Funai Electronics.
It's the kind of landmark deal that should keep the Angels gaining in value from year to year.
Their current worth represents a 3% increase from 2017.
7. St. Louis Cardinals
Value: $1.9 billion
Though the Cardinals missed the playoffs the last two years in a row, baseball fans keep coming to Busch Stadium in droves. The team ranks second in attendance, pulling in more than 42,000 per game, on average.
St. Louis hopes a big drawing card throughout the 2018 season will be Paul DeJong, an electric rookie who was secured for six years during the off-season.
Although their TV numbers have been dwindling, the Cards saw a 6% year-over-year increase in their value.
6. New York Mets
Value: $2.1 billion
Though the Mets are often regarded as the "other team" in New York, they're still a financial powerhouse. In 2018, they'll be looking to build on their 5% rise in valuation over 2017.
They saw drops in attendance and their TV numbers during an injury-ravaged season last year.
But a couple of factors should guarantee a good financial performance in 2018: The team is healthy, and the Mets recently signed a hefty sponsorship deal with New Balance.
5. Boston Red Sox
Value: $2.8 billion
One of the most iconic teams in MLB, the Boston Red Sox saw the already high value of their franchise go up by 4% over the last year.
The team has been successful on the field, too, though they fell to the Astros in the 2017 AL Division series.
However, for the first time since 2014, the Red Sox didn't go over the luxury tax threshold. They avoided a $1.5 million penalty, and the savings should help the Sox build a successful team and continue to draw big crowds and bigger TV numbers.
4. San Francisco Giants
Value: $2.85 Billion
The Giants have seen an 8% year-over-year increase in their valuation — and there are tons of reasons why.
The team has 31,000 season ticket holders and the third-highest attendance in the league, so it's no wonder that visiting teams feel a lot of envy when they're at AT&T Park.
The Giants have been dominant in the 2010s, winning three World Series trophies, and they're on pace to build another successful team that should keep their financial numbers solid.
3. Chicago Cubs
Value: $2.9 billion
The Cubbies — it's hard not to love them! Thanks to one of the strongest fan bases in baseball, the Cubs were able to raise ticket prices by 20% last year and lost only 1% of their season ticket holders as a result.
Replacements weren't hard to find: More than 100,000 other fans are on a waiting list. The franchise's enduring popularity has helped its value rise 8% over last year.
The team is currently in the midst of dealing with its complicated TV coverage. The Cubs hope to score a very lucrative contract when their current deal runs out in 2020.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Value: $3 billion
The Dodgers were just one out away from winning another championship in 2017 but couldn't close the deal. The team's strong postseason performance contributed to an impressive 9% gain in value for the franchise, vs. last year.
With a great slate of players and some top prospects in the pipeline, the Dodgers should be a juggernaut on and off the field for years to come.
The club is considering selling naming rights to Dodger Stadium for $12 million per season, which will only add to the Dodgers' growing revenues.
1. New York Yankees
Value: $4 billion
Love 'em or hate 'em, the Yankees are the most valuable team in baseball — for the 21st year in a row!
Thanks in part to a rise in attendance and a big jump in TV viewership, the Bronx Bombers have seen their overall worth climb 8% over the last year.
Led by Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino, the Yankees look ready to cement their No. 1 spot on this list for years to come.
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