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Cubs’ estimated value rises to $2.9 billion, White Sox to $1.5 billion

Tom Ricketts and his family bought the Cubs for $700 million. | Mark Black/Daily Herald via AP

It remains a good time to own an MLB franchise as estimated valuations for all 30 clubs increased year-to-year, according to the latest report from Forbes. The Cubs’ estimated value increased to $2.9 billion, third in baseball, while the White Sox’ rose to
$1.5 billion, 14th in baseball.

The Cubs and other big-market MLB teams have seen their values skyrocket in recent years. The Yankees, one of the most valuable sports franchises in the world, lead baseball at an estimated $4 billion. The Dodgers are second at $3 billion, followed closely by the Cubs, Giants ($2.85 billion) and Red Sox ($2.8 billion).

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The Ricketts family purchased the Cubs in 2009 for $700 million. The club was going through a down stretch on the field but turned into the envy of baseball after hiring Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, Joe Maddon and others to head its brain trust. The Cubs snapped their World Series title drought in 2016 and entered this season expected to make the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

In 2017, the Cubs’ value was estimated at $2.68 billion, so it’s a year-to-year increase of roughly 8 percent.

The Sox, who posted the seventh-highest year-to-year increase in value at 11 percent, were purchased by Jerry Reinsdorf in 1981 for only $20 million. They’re in the early stages of a rebuilding process on the South Side.

Six MLB teams posted negative operating incomes over the last year: the Marlins, Tigers, Orioles, Royals, Mariners and Blue Jays.

The Rays have the lowest estimated value of any MLB team at $900 million, which is still a nice return for Stuart Sternberg, who bought the club for $200 million in 2004.