Houston Astros are baseball’s most profitable team
Yes you read that headline correctly – the Houston Astros, a team with a 43-86 record, is the most profitable team in the MLB. Not only are they the most profitable this year, but they are the most profitable in the league’s history.
Forbes put out a detailed report explaining how this has occurred, and the main reason is because they signed a huge television deal when new owner Jim Crane came along. The local television station pay the Astros $80 million a year for the right to show their games. In total, the Astros raked in $99 million in operating income this season, which is about equal to the last six World Series championship teams combined.
Another big reason for the major profit is the lack of salary being paid to their current players. Erik Bedard is the only current Astro making over $1 million. They started off the season with a payroll of $26 million which is unbelievably low – but have since cut it to $13 million. They cut or traded four out of the five guys on the team making over a $1 million.
The Astros have not been competitive for a while, as they have tried to revamp their farm system. Crane said that, “Once our minor league system is filled in, we’ll move up into the top five or 10 in payroll,” so maybe brighter days are coming for the players and fans of the organization.
Another interesting number provided by CBS Sports is that the Astros average ticket price is over $30 while the league average is under $28. While this seems like a good thing for executives within the Astros organization, it leaves the fans and players hanging. Without spending money the team can’t be competitive which hurts the players. Also, the television channel that carries Astros games is reportedly only available to about 40 percent of the households in the Houston area which not good for fans.
Crane said that his plan is to spend money when the farm system is revamped, but that better be soon because the Astros have fallen very close to irrelevancy. With a payroll lower than 64 individual players in the MLB, this team is the laughing stock of baseball. It is up to Crane and the management team to spend some money and make the Astros a contender again before they lose their players, and even worse, the support of fans.