By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
October 18, 2013
Though the World Series begins with two of baseball’s most historic teams, the 2013 regular season wasn’t exactly a banner year for MLB. League-wide attendance dropped 1% on the season, with four teams experiencing double-digit percentage drops compared to last season. In particular, Marlins posted the worst second-year attendance for a new ballpark in at least 30 years. On the TV side, Fox posted it’s second-straight year of record low TV ratings with an average of just 2.4 million viewers for Saturday afternoon broadcasts. The league undoubtedly would prefer to see these numbers trend in the opposite direction. But despite a relative down year, all is not lost for MLB. The average team is valued at $744 million, up 23% over last year, according to an annual study conducted by Forbes. The growing sports TV rights bubble is distributing hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars to teams for local TV rights. Most promising, the league is emerging from the steroid era with a bevy of young stars to carry it into the future. Of MLB’s 20 best-selling jerseys on the season, 16 are players under the age of 30.