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How Much Are The Diamondbacks Worth?

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Forbes magazine have come out with their annual Business of Baseball survey. The Diamondbacks are ranked 20th, which is the same spot as last season, with a total estimated value of $396 million, up 4% on the previous year's figure. That increase is slightly below the median change of 6%, but there are some interesting wrinkles for Arizona in this year's books.

More number-crunching after the jump.

Revenue. Clearly, this is tied most directly to value - the top seven teams for revenue also contain the top seven teams by value, with no team more than one spot different. So it is with the Diamondbacks, who are ranked 19th by revenue, with an estimated figure of $180 million. Despite setting a franchise low for record attendance in 2010, with $2 million less in gate receipts, that's up about $8m on the previous season. As well as the obvious issue i.e. being out of contention by the end of May, Forbes also believes there were economic reasons for the attendance drop: "The Phoenix region, heavily dependent on real estate for jobs, has been hit hard by unemployment."

Operating Income. The increase in revenue, along with a decline in player expenses, allowed the franchise to turn a modest operating profit in 2010 of $6 million, compared to a million-dollar loss the preceding year, and comparable to the numbers from 2008-09. This still ranks only 26th among all major-league teams, and is also close to the number posted by our expansion siblings in Tampa Bay (25th, $6.8m profit). There doesn't appear to be much truth in the suggestion, occasionally heard, that the owners are making a lot of money from the team. Not compared to, say, the Padres, who made $37m profit, their fourth straight season at $23m or higher.

Debt/value ratio. This is the area where the Diamondbacks have seen the biggest change. Last year, the team was at 38%, ranking them 11th. Now, that number has dropped to 25%, ranking the Diamondbacks below average, in 18th spot. That continue a trend down, which has occurred every year since the number was first reported by Forbes at the start of the 2004 season. At that point, the team debt/value ratio was an astonishing 109% - the team had more debt than the $276 million they were worth, mostly in deferred salaries. Getting that down to a more equitable level has, obviously, been something of a task., but is now almost complete.