According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the Yankees have been the most valuable franchise in each of the 20 years Forbes has released its list. In spite of that, the league's overall financial outlook looks promising.
Overall, the average MLB team is now worth $1.54 billion, a 19% increase over a year ago based largely on increased television revenue and the mushrooming value of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, which is the league's innovative tech division that both streams content online and creates cutting-edge statistical collection methods. The increase is due to escalating television deals, profitability surges, and the value of Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
The 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs (still seems odd to type that) moved up to fourth at $2.68 billion, according to Forbes.
"The Rays are in a downward spiral, as the team posted its third consecutive sub-.500 season in 2016, winning just 68 games, and had MLB's lowest average attendance (15,878) for the fifth-straight season".
The San Francisco Giants finish out the top five at $2.65 billion. The Ricketts family bought the team for $845 million in 2009.
Forbes reported Mike Ozanian notes that the Miami Marlins recently had a handshake deal to sell the franchise for $1.6 billion, although that deal fizzled. The Padres' ownership group purchased the franchise for $800 million in 2012.
The Yankees are the second-highest valued sports franchise in the United States behind only the Dallas Cowboys.