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Cubs’ estimated value surpasses $3 billion, while White Sox see growth, too

The Cubs have seen their team value skyrocket in recent years under the Ricketts family. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

It remains a good time to own a Major League Baseball team as franchise values rose an average of 8 percent from last year, according to the latest estimates from Forbes. The Cubs are now worth $3.1 billion, a 7 percent increase from a year ago, which makes them one of five big league clubs to be valued at more than $3 billion.

All but one team in MLB saw its franchise values increase year-to-year based on Forbes’ new estimates. The Yankees saw the biggest surge with their value increasing 15 percent to a staggering $4.6 billion, which puts them significantly ahead of the rest of the field. The Dodgers ($3.3 billion), Red Sox ($3.2 billion), and Giants ($3 billion) round out the top five.

The Cubs have seen their estimated value surge under the ownership of the Ricketts family, which paid $700 million to acquire the team in 2009.

By 2013, Forbes estimated the Cubs were worth $1 billion, and three years later, that number had surpassed $2 billion. Now another three years later, the team’s value remains on a similar trajectory.

The Cubs took in an estimated $452 million in local revenue last year, and their operating income of $87 million was third-highest in the league behind the Dodgers and Phillies. Based on Forbes’ estimates, the team came away with operating incomes of at least $50 million in each of the last five years.

The White Sox are also seeing growth, even if they’re firmly the second fiddle among Chicago baseball teams. Forbes estimates the Sox’ value increased 7 percent to $1.6 billion, which is 14th-highest in the league. The team was still very financially successful last year with operating income of $76 million, the sixth-highest figure among the 30 teams.

On average, each MLB team generated operating income of $40 million.