Posted August 26, 2013

Forbes report: Houston Astros most profitable team in baseball history

MLB
The Houston Astros are the most profitable team in baseball in 2013. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Houston Astros are the most profitable team in baseball in 2013. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Houston Astros, owners of the league’s worst record in baseball at 43-86, are the most profitable franchise in 2013, according to a Forbes report. According to the Forbes report, the Astros franchise will become the most profitable team in baseball history.

The Astros are reportedly on pace to make $99 million in operating income, thanks to a severely limited payroll and increased television revenue. The Astros, however, released a statement refuting some of the details in the report later on Monday. The team said that some of the figures relating to its revenue were off base.

Here’s the full statement, via CBS Sports:

We are very disappointed that, earlier today, Forbes released an article that includes significant inaccuracies relating to the Astros’ finances. The Astros do not disclose financial information. However, as MLB will confirm, the information reported in the Forbes article relating to the Astros’ revenues, the Astros media rights fee from CSN Houston, and CSN Houston’s per subscriber rate are all significantly inaccurate. As a result, the conclusion about the Astros operational profit is significantly inaccurate.

The Astros will continue to operate the team in a fiscally responsible manner that will make the City of Houston proud. We are very excited about our accomplishments and we remain steadfast in our commitment to this rebuilding process. We have established a basis of young talent on our MLB roster that will continue to improve. And our minor league system is now one of the best in MLB. As our young prospects develop, we will move them up to the Major League roster and increase our payroll to a level that will allow the Astros to compete for World Championships. The success of CSN Houston is a vital piece of that process and we continue to work toward establishing full distribution.

The frugal Astros have limited their payroll expenses to an extreme this season, opening the year with a league-low $26 million payroll. They have since slashed their payroll to $13 million by trading or releasing four of the five players earning more than $1 million this season.

According to Forbes, the Astros’ estimated $99 million income would be more than what the past six World Series champions have earned combined. Astros owner Jim Crane told ESPN the Magazine in June that once the Astros’ minor league system has been filled, the club would sport a payroll in the top 10 or top five of the league.


17 comments
lionoah
lionoah

Cmon, it wasn't THAT long ago that Houston was one of the best team in baseball. Houston is a large market but they aren't the Yankees, L.A. Boston or Chicago and they certainly don't have a long standing tradition that will bring in fans even during tough times. SO what they are profitable? Should they be like Miami and buy up every high dollar free agent only to sell them off when it's unsustainable? Some teams have to build a solid foundation first and THEN get a few free agents. Didn't Roger Clemens and Andy Pettite play for you guys not too long ago? Those two certainly weren't cheap. 

westcoastbias
westcoastbias

If you don't disclose financial information, then you can't claim that what is out there is wrong.  Either provide audited financials or live with your lack of credibility.

nathan l
nathan l

Did anyone else notice that the Astros didn't dispute the central point of the Forbes article, that they're the most profitable team in MLB?  Gee, wonder why not...

nathan l
nathan l

Disputing the report without providing any specifics? Weak, Astros. Almost as weak as your highly profitable team.

jdkelley47
jdkelley47

Socialism at work. Why spend the money if there's no incentive for the Astros to win. I love the way the baseball teams refuse to disclose financial information but they'll damn sure ask the taxpayers to foot the bill for a new stadium.

MusaIbraheem
MusaIbraheem

This is an outrage! The people at Forbes are such liars. I have it from reliable sources that the Astros only made $94 million.  

PhilippeMckay
PhilippeMckay

it's ultimately a business...getting to the show is good enough for a lot of kids...and the astro ownership seems to think the same way...they just think being invited as a player is for suckers especially when one can own a piece of the pie....they are showing that if you dont care about wining or losing but rather making a buck you smell the same....

Marchoir
Marchoir

The Astros are correct. The Forbes article was significantly off. The Astros only had $92 million operating income.

RD
RD

Well of course you're going to make money if you don't pay your players very much.  The owners better put the money in the bank for future losses or get some talent because the fans aren't going to be paying major league ticket prices to see minor league players.

otherworld
otherworld

Smart moves by them. Now let's see if they can compete long term. 

TedMcClelland
TedMcClelland

They're basically leeching off other teams' talent to bring in fans.

William27
William27

must be stressful for them to make so much money

I feel so so sorry for them

Anaximenes1
Anaximenes1

with guaranteed TV/radio money, concessions, naming rights----making millions is easy, even when the team sucks

Scramble
Scramble

@jdkelley47 I wish our government would think that way before attacking another country.

ickythmp58
ickythmp58

@jdkelley47 I totally agree with you. This is typical of an ownership who wants the money but refuses to put a product on the field that will win. Wonder how many times they have claimed "hard up" for being cheap? Great post.

MusaIbraheem
MusaIbraheem

@RD The fans are already doing just that. Call it the Barnum effect. 

nikitas84
nikitas84

@TedMcClelland if the league wants to change it, they need to start setting caps and floors; set the floor at $40M and the cap at $120M (maybe more)