Business is a difficult industry to cover, and more so with Major League Baseball. As a private industry, financial information is rarely—if ever—disclosed. So, it was with interest (and some shock) that I saw an article here on Forbes.com claiming the 2013 Houston Astros: Baseball’s Worst Team Is The Most Profitable In History.
There are few times that the need for an article refuting a Forbes colleague is in need of publishing, but this is one of those instances. Beyond statements from the Astros and club president Reid Ryan saying that the article was factually incorrect—something that could smack of protectionism—the fact is, the Astros are not the most profitable MLB club in history. As well, they are most assuredly not even the most profitable this year. In a case of ensuring that as the initial story weaves its way across the internet to other media, thus creating revisionist history, here are the reasons why the story is not only off-base, it has to be classified as grossly inaccurate.
At the heart of the story is this quote:
The Astros are on pace to rake in an estimated $99 million in operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) this season. That is nearly as much as the estimated operating income of the previous six World Series championship teams — combined.
And adds this:
Crane has dropped payroll despite raking in revenue from one of the biggest television deals in all of baseball.
It is here that the story veers terribly off course and undermines the headline grab.