Just as the 30 Major League Baseball owners are locking horns with the players over pay for a 2020 baseball season of still undetermined length, Forbes released its list of the top 10 wealthiest owners in the sport on Wednesday.
John Henry, principal owner of Fenway Sports Group, the sports conglomerate that owns the Red Sox as well as Liverpool FC and most of NESN, is estimated by Forbes to have personal wealth of $2.7 billion, good for a sixth-place ranking.
Henry is also the owner and publisher of the Boston Globe.
The combined net worth of the Top 10 owners is $30.7 billion. Forbes also notes that the average franchise value ($1.85 billion) has risen 11 percent when compounded annually since 1998, a span where the average annual gain for the S&P was 4.5 percent.
A major reason why the battle between owners and players has been so protracted is the owners’ claims that they will lose too much money in games played in empty ballparks because of COVID-19. MLB players are seeking 100 percent of their prorated salaries, but the owners want players to accept a smaller percentage in any deal to spread out the burden of the revenue losses.
In April, Forbes ranked the Red Sox as the third most valuable franchise at $3.3 billion, up 3 percent from the year before.
At the top of the owners’ list is Ted Lerner, owner of the reigning world champion Nationals, at $4.8 billion.
Next is the San Francisco Giants’ Charles Johnson at $4.5 billion, then Marian Ilitch of the Detroit Tigers at $3.8 billion. The Los Angeles Angels’ Arte Moreno and the Philadelphia Phillies John Middleton are neck and neck at $3.3 billion, followed by Henry.
The final four: J. Joe Ricketts of the Chicago Cubs ($2.6 billion), John Fisher of the Oakland A’s ($2.2 billion), Ray Davis of the Texas Rangers ($2 billion) and Jerry Reinsdorf of the Chicago White Sox at $1.5 billion.
Michael Silverman can be reached at email@example.com.