Forbes: Braves surpass $1 billion in value

The Atlanta Braves have joined a growing group of pro sports franchises estimated to be worth more than $1 billion.

Forbes magazine, in releasing its annual ranking of Major League Baseball franchise values Wednesday, said the Braves are worth $1.15 billion, up 58 percent from last year.

Across the board, MLB franchise values increased by an average of 48 percent this year, the largest year-over-year jump since Forbes began its annual study in 1998. League-wide, the increases were driven largely by new local and national TV deals.

The Braves’ valuation also has gotten a big boost from the team’s planned move in 2017 to a new Cobb County stadium, which will be built partly with taxpayer dollars.

MLB teams are now worth an average of $1.2 billion, Forbes said. At $1.15 billion, the Braves are the 12th most valuable baseball franchise and are among 15 valued at $1 billion-plus. Last year, when the Braves were valued at $730 million, only five MLB teams topped $1 billion.

The New York Yankees remain baseball’s most valuable franchise, estimated by Forbes to be worth $3.2 billion. The Los Angeles Dodgers are second at $2.4 billion.

Forbes estimated the Braves’ operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for 2014 at $33.2 million.

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