In 2001, comedian Louis C.K. performed on Comedy Central Presents and, as part of his act, discussed all of the good Bill Gates could do with $90 billion. He says, “He could take two billion—he could buy every baseball team and make them all wear dresses and still have $88 billion.”
Well, in 2012, $2 billion actually only buys the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yes, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who could only fill archaic Dodger Stadium (nostalgia notwithstanding) to 64 percent capacity in 2011 as they narrowly avoided a fire sale and finished 11.5 games back in the NL West, will be purchased by a group of investors—including Laker-great Magic Johnson—for $2 billion. That’s roughly $600 million more than they were valued at by Forbes just last week. Why would Magic Johnson and company be ready to pony up $2 billion for a franchise in bankruptcy that hasn’t been to the World Series in nearly a quarter century? Television, that’s why.
The Dodgers TV deals with Fox’s Prime Ticket and local station CBS affiliate KCAL Channel 9 turn into pumpkins after the 2013 season. That means in 2014, instead of netting about $50 million each season for the television rights to the Dodgers, Magic and his investors will likely field offers north of $100 million.
If the Dodgers fetch for $2 billion, then the Phillies will be worth, *carries the one*, like, a lot, by 2015.
The Phillies increased 19 percent in value last year. They have a new(ish) ballpark they filled to 104 percent capacity last season as the team’s sellout streak continues. They’ve won five straight division titles and appeared in three of the last five NLCS. Oh, and their TV deal with Comcast expires in 2015. It’s important to note that they also posted the highest television ratings of any team in baseball for 2011. So, how much will the Phils be worth by then? If they keep winning, Citizens Bank Park keeps selling out, and a Phillies TV network is just on the horizon, $2 billion will probably feel like a steal.