According to Forbes, the Nats have dropped in value by a major league leading 12 percent from 2008 to 2009. The Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, and Seattle Mariners followed closely behind with Atlanta dropping 10 percent and the other two dropping nine.
Now listed to be valued at $406 Million the Nats sit in the middle of the MLB in terms of overall value as they are ranked 14th our of 30 teams. The New York Yankees top the list, valued at $1.5 billion, three times the value of the Nationals. At the bottom? The Florida Marlins, valued at $277 million.
For a team to lose its value during a recession, especially after the club lost a Major League leading 102 losses last year is not surprising. However it should come as a shock to the Nationals. A large part of the value of a club is laid in their stadium, Nationals Park was built just last year. The top two franchises in baseball this season, the Yankees and the Mets, both grew by over 10 percent from 2008, and both have new stadiums.
It can't be the recession either. Recent reports have the Washington D.C area doing better than nearly every other metropolitan area in the nation, in fact the Washington economy has grown in 2009. Thank you government jobs.
It may also surprise Nats fans to know that our own Ted Lerner, the owner of the Nationals, stands far and away the richest owner in Major League Baseball. His wealth was recently listed (by Forbes again) at $3.2 billion. To put that in comparison George Steinbrenner, owner of the Yankees is only worth $1.3 billion. John Henry, owner of the Red Sox, is only worth $1.1 billion. And Peter Angelos, owner of the Orioles, is worth $1.2 billion.
So if the Nats have more recourses than anyone else, and they are in a city which should not effect their fan base, and they have the infrastructure with the games most wealthy owner...what's the problem?
Is it D.C sports fans? Evidently not as the Wizards grew by two percent this year despite their record-awfulness, and currently sit 15th out of 30 teams. The Redskins have grown five percent and sit at a whopping $1.5 billion, which is second in the NFL to the Cowboys. Oddly the Washington Capitals sit close to the bottom at 26/30 NHL teams, but even they have grown by 10 percent in the last year.
The only conclusion I can come to is incompetence. Trickle-down incompetence at that, from Teddy Lerner, to Stan Kasten, to Clint . The team appears to me to have every opportunity to succeed, yet not only does it stay stagnant, it spirals downward to the point where I feel the "Natinals," mistake may be a sign that like the teams name on the jersey, the Nats may just be disappearing into nothingness.