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Hey Las Vegas, MLB commissioner has an expansion update

Updated April 27, 2021 - 6:04 pm

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball would consider expansion fees in the range of $2.2 billion for new franchises, though there are no current plans to add teams.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has mentioned Las Vegas as a potential expansion candidate. He also has talked about Charlotte, North Carolina; Montreal; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Manfred spoke Tuesday during SporticoLive’s online discussion of its estimates to baseball franchise valuations. The company estimated the average MLB franchise value is $2.2 billion, led the New York Yankees at $6.75 billion.

Colorado and Miami paid $95 million each to join in 1993, and Arizona and Tampa Bay paid $130 million to join in 1998.

Manfred has said repeatedly that MLB will not consider expansion until the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays get new ballparks. The Athletics have proposed a stadium in the Howard Terminal area of downtown Oakland, and the Rays have said they will pursue splitting seasons between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal starting in 2028, after the expiration of their lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

No plans for those cities have been finalized.

“If in fact these assets are worth an average $2.2 billion, I think that’s kind of a lodestar in terms of where you would start in terms of evaluating expansion opportunity,” Manfred said. “Expansion is not purely additive, right, from the perspective of the existing owners. There are huge shared revenue streams that are diluted as a result of having 32 as opposed to 30 as your denominator, and if that was in fact the expansion number, and that has to be taken into account, as well.”

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