The Sacramento River Cats, the Oakland A's top minor-league affiliate, are the most valuable team in all of Minor League Baseball, according to a Forbes report.
The River Cats, who led the minor leagues in overall attendance in their all eight seasons at Raley Field, have an overall value of $38 million and an operating income of $7.1 million, according to Forbes' formula for valuating teams.
Forbes points out that in-stadium revenue streams (ticket sales, luxury suites, parking, concessions, stadium naming rights and sponsorships) make up nearly all of a minor-league team's income. In addition to high ticket revenues, the River Cats get $750,000 annually from naming rights to Raley Field.
The River Cats were originally purchased by a group led by Art Savage and moved from Vancouver to Sacramento in 2000. Savage passed away in 2009, which left his wife Susan as majority owner.
Sacramento's success on the field has certainly helped at the gate. The River Cats are coming off an unprecedented six consecutive Pacific Coast League division title and have won the PCL championship four times in the past 10 years.
Meanwhile, the Fresno Grizzlies, the Giants' Triple-A affiliate, are tied for the 15th most valuable minor league team with a Forbes-assigned value of $24 million. The Grizzlies' $1 million revenue each year from Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino is the top amount found by Forbes.
The Rangers' Triple-A team, the Round Rock Express, is the second-highest valuable minor league team at $35 million. Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan is part-owner of the team.