Yankees-Red Sox: Baseball’s $12 Billion Wild Card Clash

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The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox face off Tuesday night in the fifth playoff meeting between the two storied franchises, which have split their previous four postseason showdowns. The winner gets the 100-win Tampa Bay Rays in the Division Round starting Thursday, but both teams continue to score off the field.

Worth a combined $11.55 billion, the Yankees ($6.75 billion) and Red Sox ($4.8 billion) were baseball’s two most valuable clubs in Sportico’s 2021 MLB valuations. They generate the highest gate receipts in the sport during a typical 162-game season with full attendance, thanks to sky-high prices and large fan bases that pack their respective stadiums. The teams also rank one-two for sponsorship revenue and show no signs of slowing down.

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“I will debate you that the New York Yankees will be here another 100 years and Apple computer won’t,” sports banker Sal Galatioto told Sportico last month in a phone interview.

The American League East rivals have built valuable properties on the field but also outside the stadium with their related businesses, which are part of the Sportico valuations.

The YES Network launched two decades ago, and the Yankees are the largest shareholder with a 26% stake. And while the RSN model crumbles, YES remains an economic force, as the most-watched RSN nearly every year and a projected monthly affiliate fee of $7.27 a month in 2022, twice the average RSN, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The Yankees used the clout of their brand to found a hospitality business, Legends, in partnership with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008. The company has expanded its offerings to include sponsorships, ticketing and merchandising. Money manager Sixth Street bought a majority stake in Legends earlier this year in a deal that valued the company at $1.35 billion. The Yankees and Cowboys each retained just over 20% of the firm.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, launched their own channel in 1984, 18 years before the Yankees started YES. NESN serves a smaller market than its New York counterpart and commands a lower affiliate fee of $5.14, per S&P, but the 80% ownership stake held by Fenway Sports Group pushes the total value of the team’s related businesses ahead of the Yankees. FSG also owns Fenway Park and real estate around the stadium, nudging its related-business value to an MLB-high $1.2 billion.

RedBird Capital Partners, founded by longtime Goldman Sachs executive Gerry Cardinale, invested $750 million in March for an 11% stake in FSG, whose other primary asset besides the Sox and NESN is English soccer team Liverpool F.C.

The Red Sox have even bigger designs in Boston. FSG and developer WS Development submitted plans this spring for a 2.1 million-square-foot office, retail and residential project to be built on four lots around Fenway. The goal is to kick off construction in 2022 on a five-to-seven-year project that would include eight new buildings.