How Much Does A Minor League Baseball Team Cost?

Buying a minor league baseball team can cost anywhere from $6 million to more than $50 million. This price range depends on the league, level of play, and the team’s financial health.

The cost of owning a minor league baseball team can change a lot. It’s based on factors like the league, location, the facilities of the team, and its financial condition.

Let’s look at some important factors that can change the price of minor-league baseball teams:

  1. League Level: Minor league baseball has various levels, from Class A to Triple-A. The cost of running a club goes up as you move through these levels. Triple-A teams often cost more to run than Class-A teams.
  2. Franchise Fee: People often have to pay a franchise fee to join a minor league system. This fee can be different, but it’s usually from a few hundred thousand to several million dollars.
  3. Operating Expenditures: The regular costs of running a minor league team include paying players, paying staff, travel costs, money for advertising, and taking care of the stadium. These prices can be much different based on the market and level of play.
  4. Stadium and Facility Costs: The cost can also go up for improving the stadium and facilities of the club. This is also based on where the club’s premises are located.

In conclusion, various factors affect the cost of owning a minor league baseball team, including the league level, franchise fee, ongoing operating costs, and the location of the team’s facilities.

Cost Of A Minor League Baseball Team

The cost of owning a Minor League Baseball Team varies greatly. It can be as low as $6 million or as high as $50 million. The league the team plays in and their financial situation influence their actual value.

Statista reports that in 2004, Major League Baseball teams had an average worth of $295 million. By 2021, Forbes notes that this value rose to around $1.9 billion.

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Below is a breakdown of the costs of minor league baseball teams based on their play level:

  • Single-A Teams: These teams typically have the most affordable ownership costs. The cost can be a few million dollars to around $20 million, influenced by the market and team performance. An example is the Delmarva Shorebirds, a Single A team affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Double-A Teams: Ownership costs for these teams may range from $20 million to $40 million, based on various factors. One such team is the Akron RubberDucks, affiliated with the Cleveland Guardians.
  • Triple-A Teams: Triple-A teams in the MiLB league usually have the highest cost. The price can range from $30 million to well over $50 million. For example, the Dayton Dragons, a Minnesota Twins-affiliated minor baseball team at the triple-A level, was worth $45 million in 2016.
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These figures are estimates, and the actual costs can change based on location, facilities, and the financial performance of the teams.

These costs do not account for player salaries, stadium maintenance, and other operational expenses, which also impact the financial commitment of team owners.

Minor league baseball teams’ sale prices are not recorded in a centralized database. An example can be seen in Diamond Baseball Holdings, which paid $47 million for three Atlanta Braves-affiliated franchises just over a year ago.

This price highlights that the Vancouver Canadians’ selling owners, a High-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, more than doubled the $7 million they paid for the team 15 years ago. Additional details regarding Diamond Baseball Holdings’ transactions are not publicly available.

Top-Ranked Highest Valued Minor League Baseball Teams

The Sacramento River Cats are noted as the most valuable minor league baseball team. Their value was listed at $49 million in 2016.

Revealing the market value of minor league baseball teams is challenging. The most recent information provided by Forbes about these teams’ worth was in 2016.

Minor League Baseball Team
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According to different league levels, Forbes shared estimated sale values for minor league teams in that year.

The Dayton Dragons were highlighted as a notably appealing franchise, with A-Ball teams having reported sale values ranging from $10 million to $40 million.

Meanwhile, Double-A and Triple-A teams were generally sold for $20 million to $35 million. It is important to remember that these figures are from 2016.

Actual sale prices may vary greatly due to factors like market size, team performance, and the quality of the stadium.

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Although these assessments are based on data from 2016, different evaluations may exist based on more recent information.

The information from Forbes in 2016 provided a list of the top 10 most valuable Minor League Baseball Teams.

  • Sacramento River Cats at $49 million.
  • Charlotte Knights at $47.5 million
  • Dayton Dragons at $45 million.
  • Lehigh Valley IronPigs at $43 million
  • Columbus Clippers at $41 million.
  • Round Rock Express at $40 million.
  • Durham Bulls at $39 million
  • El Paso Chihuahuas at $38.5 million
  • Indianapolis Indians at $37.5 million
  • Frisco RoughRiders at $37 million
  • It’s important to note that the values of these teams have likely increased over the past 7 years.

The Sacramento River Cats are in partnership with the San Francisco Giants, playing in the Pacific Coast League.

Minor League Baseball Team
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In the same way, the Charlotte Knights have a connection with the Chicago White Sox and participate in the International League. In 2016, the two clubs had a value of $49 million and $47.5 million respectively.

In a similar fashion, the San Francisco Giants own the Richmond Flying Squirrels as their minor league baseball team, which held a value of $29.0 million in 2016.

The Texas Rangers owned two minor teams, the Frisco RoughRiders and the Round Rock Express, valued at $37 million and $40 million respectively in the same year.

According to a 2016 Forbes report, both clubs ranked among the top 10 clubs in terms of highest value.

Minor League Baseball Players’ Earnings: How Much Do They Really Make?

In the rookie league to complex, Minor League Baseball Players earn up to $19,800. Players in the triple-A league earn more than $30,000 each year.

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The Minor League Baseball Players Association and Major League Baseball have an agreement. For the first time in nearly 12 years, this agreement could increase the salary of minor league baseball players.

Minor League Baseball Team
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The New York Times reports a significant increase in the salaries of minor league baseball for 2023:

  1. Complex Leagues: The minimum salary is now $19,800 yearly, up from $4,800.
  2. Low-A: The minimum yearly salary has increased from $11,000 to $26,200.
  3. High-A: The minimum yearly salary is now $27,300, increased from $11,000.
  4. Double-A: The minimum salary at the lowest is now $30,250, up from $13,800.
  5. Triple-A: The minimum annual salary has risen from $17,500 to $45,800.

Last year, the average new draft pick got a signing bonus of about $20,000. The top prospects got even more, up to $7 million.

Between 2000 and 2018, not much changed for players in the lower leagues, but lately things have started to get better.

Someone who started playing in the minor league in 2019 has seen more positive changes in the last four years than in the 50 years before that.

Their salaries have gone up a lot, making their earnings better and more stable.

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