There are many, many ways to evaluate the MLB’s TOP Teams. We can use W-L records, team values (by Forbes), by fan popularity (ie Likes on Facebook), by the avg cost of each team’s tickets and a few concession items, etc, etc, etc. We have selected 4 different variables and ranked MLB’s 30 teams on these variables. We have given each of the variable the SAME WEIGHT and that has allowed us to sum each team’s rankings, giving us a composite ranking score. The 4 variables selected were:

  • The 2016 Team value of each team as determined by Forbes;
  • The Operating Income of each team as calculated by Forbes;
  • The Opening Day Salary of each team as published by USA2DAY; and
  • Each team’s Fan Cost Index (FCI) as determined by Team Sports Marketing (the FCI is 4 avg priced tix, 2 cheapest draft beers, 4 cheapest soft drinks, 4 reg sized hot dogs, a parking pass for 1 car and 2 cheapest priced adult adjustable ball caps)

Table 1 is MLB’s BE$T BA$EBALL BIZ ranking of its 30 teams. In short the Red Sox’s team value is ranked 3rd in 2016; it has the 6th highest Operating Income; the 4th highest Opening Day Team Payroll/Salary and the highest FCI. The sum of those 4 rankings is 14. The Red Sox, therefore are the #1 ranked biz in MLB for 2016. The TOP 5 has NOT seen much change with the NYY regaining a TOP 5 position and the Nationals slipping from a tie for 3rd place to a tie for 7th place. Given the TOP 10, we see the strong increase for HOUSTON from 21st place into 10th place b/c of its new stadium and its great improvement as a baseball team with its capturing the AL Wild Card for 2016 winning an amazing 16 more games than last year. The result was an increase in team value of $300M to go with its wonderful boost in home attendance of more than 400,000 fans. WOW. (We must also mention that last yr’s World Series Champ, KC, rose from a tie in 19th place to a tie for 15th place. [KC was the 2014 WC winner and the AL Champ]).

Given our Biz of Baseball T-1 (Team Rankings) we find that 6 of the 10 teams involved in the playoffs last yr were TOP 10 Biz Teams. In the 2nd tier of teams 4 of the 10 teams in 2015’s were MLB playoff teams. In the lower 1/3 of teams NONE of them were 2015 playoff teams. In short the better a team is as a biz the greater the likelihood that it will be a MLB playoff team! END OF STORY!!


Our last col of Social Totals it not a Biz of Baseball variable itself, but stands for the Buzz of Baseball proposition. Which teams get the most and least social media attention? Perhaps, it is no surprise that the NYY, BOS, SF, LAD & CHC round out the TOP 5 of Biggest Buzzers. All 5 play in major markets, have legions of fans and (for the most part) have had some recent success on the field. The opposite can be said for the BOTTOM 5 of MIA, SD, ARI, TB & WSH. It is interesting to note that while WSH was in the TOP 10 overall as a baseball biz it was in the BOTTOM 5 in Social Media following. Sitting at 6 & 7 in the Social Standings are TOR & DET, respectively. Both play in medium to small markets, we can attribute TOR’s large following to being Canada’s only team & we know from opening day festivities that Detroiter’s love their TIGERS!!! (Crain’s Detroit supplied the FB & Twitter data. We combined them given each FB # was weighted (x .60); While each Twitter # was weighted (x .34), hence we are able to articulate a total social media score. These weighted scores are based on how well FB & Twitter users interact.


When we look at the Operating Income column, we quickly see that 3 teams are in are in trouble. The Rangers, the Phillies, and the Dodgers. What is so unusual is that both the Rangers and the Dodgers were division winners last year when the Phillies were terrible on the playing field. As a biz the Bums (LAD) earned the 2nd most revenues ($38 M) but still lost $73 M , it is clear their management has a spending problem. Given Operating Income data we also clearly see MLB’s Best Teams are SF (2014 WS Champ) with $72.60M and HOU with $66.6M. The fact that STL has the 3rd biggest Oper Income ($59.8 M) surely validates it as “America’s Baseball City!” What is so amazing about the Cardinals is that they have succeeded in spite of the fact that St. Louis MO is the 3rd smallest city in the MLB. Heck, the city is about 120,000 folks smaller than KC. NEXT QUESTION!


About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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