Baseball's new price tag

April 19, 2012: 5:00 AM ET

According to the new rules of moneyball, the best team doesn't always win the fight for the most lucrative franchise.

By Alex Konrad, reporter

FORTUNE -- A question posed by the $2.15 billion bid to buy the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers (the most money ever paid for a sports franchise): Is the team really worth that much? Thanks to increasingly lucrative TV contracts, it very well could be. As the graph below of team sales since 2003 demonstrates, a larger audience drastically ups the franchise's price. Angels owner Arte Moreno knows this all too well. He spent more signing slugger Albert Pujols than it cost to buy the team in 2003.

baseball_price_tag

This story is from the April 30, 2012 issue of Fortune.

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