On Wednesday, Forbes released the rankings of the net worth of all 23 MLS teams. The Denver Business Journal got right to the point:
The Colorado Rapids ranks dead last in value among Major League Soccer’s 23 clubs, according to a report released Wednesday by Forbes.*
While Rapids supporters were hoping to put an end to the inglorious 2018 campaign, the hits just keep on coming.
The top five on this list come as no surprise: Atlanta United ($330 million), LA Galaxy ($320 million), Seattle ($310 million), LAFC ($305 million), and Toronto ($290 million).
The Rapids came in 23rd out of 23 by having a valuation of $155 million and $18 million in revenue, but at a $6 million loss overall. Who earned first in revenue? According to the Forbes article:
Last season, no team came close to matching the Galaxy’s $63 million in revenue, and no other team had the cachet required to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic to a sweetheart, $1.5 million-per-year contract (he doesn’t even qualify as one of the team’s designated players). The Galaxy make an average $5.5 million annually from local TV rights while many MLS teams still count local broadcasts as an expense, and it’s those sorts of financial advantages that allow the five-time champions to maintain the perennially star-studded roster necessary to stay relevant in such a competitive market.
Let’s land here for a moment. Let’s look at TV rights: the Galaxy make $5.5 million annually “While many MLS teams still count local broadcasts as an expense,” which may be the case when it comes to the relationship between the Rapids and Altitude TV (though both are owned by Kroenke Sports Entertainment)? When/if we find out more about the TV rights, we’ll update this article.
Now, granted, the valuation is a stinger, adding only more questions to an ownership and front office that already have their work cut out for them for the 2019 season. But consider: the Columbus Crew rank 22nd at $160 million. Yet, they made the playoffs as a 6th seed and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals, bowing out after a fairly strong showing. This shows that using what you have well (good coaching and buying the right players) is what matters.
But back to the top five teams. They all have a few things in common:
- They have an ownership throwing full support into the club.
- They have a strong scouting system to find quality players.
- They possess a high expectation on the coach and players to perform.
- They have good-sized to monstrous-sized stadiums, and fill them because of reasons 1 and 2.
Even the most diehard Rapids supporter struggles with whether the club is willing to see any of these things come to fruition—or at least recognize that these issues exist and that the problems will not be wished away with simple hard work. It’s not about working hard, it’s about working right.
Note: The problem with this report is the lack of clarity regarding the origination of the numbers. We do know from the article that stadiums and real estate did not factor into the valuation of the teams.