Red Sox Valued at $533 Million in Annual Report
Red Sox' 2004 Estimated Worth Trails Only Yankees

According to Forbes Magazine's annual survey, the Boston Red Sox are the second most valuable franchise in Major League Baseball. Their $533 million value trails only - you guessed it - the New York Yankees' $832 million price tag.

"John Henry has done a superb job of increasing his team's revenue since buying the Red Sox and controlling interest in the New England Sports Network for $700 million two years ago," Forbes said in its evaluation.

The Red Sox' worth has doubled in just five years, as they were valued at $256 million in 1999. The team enjoys strong fan support, high cable television revenue, and benefits from the most expensive ticket prices in baseball.

Last year the Red Sox realized strong gains in revenue and gate receipts, while decreasing player expenses. Forbes cited 2003 revenue at $190 million and gate receipts from Fenway Park at $121 million, which exceeded player expenses ($116 million).

The current value of $533 million represented a 9% jump from last year's $488 million, when the Red Sox ranked third behind the New York Mets, who dropped behind Boston this year. The Mets' worth was calculated at $442 million. The Montreal Expos ($145 million) finished last in the survey.

The Yankees' estimated worth of $832 million represented a $17 million decline from 2003. New York's loss was attributed to the effects of baseball's revenue-sharing system and luxury tax.

Prior to the Henry ownership, the Red Sox were controlled by the Jean R. Yawkey Trust, which bought the team in 1977 for $20.5 million. Tom Yawkey bought the Red Sox and Fenway Park for $1.2 million in 1933.

Red Sox Worth by Year (available data)
Year Value Rank Revenue Gate Players Profit*
2004 $533 2 $190 $121 $116 $11.4
2003 $488 3 $171 $98 $124  -2.1
2002 $426 4 -11.4
2001 $339   $177 $90 $118 -12.7
2000 $284
1999 $256
1998 $230

* Profits are calculated after revenue sharing money is subtracted. For example, in 2001 the Red Sox declared $2.7 million in profits before they contributed $15.4 million in revenue sharing, resulting in a net loss of -$12.7 million.

The richest sports franchise in the U.S. is the Washington Redskins, valued by Forbes at $1.1 billion. By the way, the average NFL team is worth $733 million, a 17% increase over 2003.