How Much Are The Detroit Tigers Really Worth?

A Deep Dive into Value, Profit & Performance

Detroit Tigers Valuation

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Detroit Tigers

Forbes Estimated Value in 2019

$276 million. Team revenue in 2019

$46 million. Gate receipts in 2019. 

$170 million. Combined player salaries and operating expenses for 2019. 

$152 million. Estimated valuation of Tigers back in 1998, two seasons before historic Tigers Stadium was replaced by the modern Comerica Park. That’s close to 10 times less than the franchise’s value today. 

$54.2 million. Team revenue in 1998, five times less than 2019.

21st Tigers position out of 30 teams in Major League Baseball on list of most valuable.

$4.6 billion. Value of the New York Yankees, No. 1 on the list of most valuable MLB franchises — almost four times what the Tigers are worth.

Detroit Tigers Purchase Price

$82 million. Price Mike Ilitch paid to purchase the Tigers in 1992.

$3 billion. Annual revenue of Little Caesars Pizza, the chain Ilitch founded alongside his wife Marian Ilitch.

2. Number of Detroit pro sports teams the Ilitch family owns (Detroit Red Wings franchise value)

$53 million. Price that Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino’s Pizza, bought the Tigers for in 1983 from John Fetzer.

30. Approximate years Fetzer had owned the Tigers for.

TV Deal

$5.1 billion. Value of broadcast contract extension MLB and Fox Sports announced from 2021 through 2028 season. The deal gives Fox broadcast rights for World Series, MLB All-Star Game, one LCS, two LDS and a Saturday doubleheader during regular season.

$525 million. Yearly value of broadcast deal.

$50 million. Value per year of local broadcast rights deal Tigers have with Fox Sports Detroit.

150. Number of regular season games the deal gives Fox Sports Detroit exclusive local television rights

2021. Year agreement expires.

detroit tigers value
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Detroit Tigers Revenue Per Game

81. Number of regular season home games the Tigers normally play per year.

$65 million. Tigers’ gate receipts at Comerica Park in 2009.

$81 million. Tigers’ gate receipts in 2011.

$98 million. Tigers’ gate receipts in 2012.

$96 million. Tigers’ gate receipts in 2013.

$79 million. Tigers’ gate receipts in 2015.

$70 million. Tigers’ gate receipts in 2017.

$46 million. Tigers’ gate receipts  in 2019.

$568,000. Estimated revenue per home game in 2019 (based on gate receipts of $46 million)

$3.4 million. Approximate overall revenue per home game at Comerica Park in 2019.

$1.2 million. Tigers’ gate receipts per home game in 2012.

$276 million. Total revenue in 2019.

Of course, the Detroit Tigers have other sources of revenue, like the team’s sponsorship deal with global sports betting operator PointsBet, the first deal of its kind for any MLB franchise. The deal makes PointsBet, soon to launch online sports betting and casino games in Michigan in conjunction with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Tigers’ official authorized gaming operator.

That means TV broadcast-visible branding at Comerica Park and exposure on the Tigers’ website, social media, and the Detroit Tigers Radio Network. Once the PointsBet Michigan online sports betting and casino products launch, they will also be integrated into The District Detroit and MLB Ballpark apps. Or, there’s also the multi-year sponsorship deal the team signed with Coppercraft Distillery in 2019. An agreement that allows Coppercraft Distillery branding of Comerica Park’s right-field bar, now The Coppercraft Distillery Bar, and signage at the Bourbon Bar.

The Tigers also have sponsorship deals with Planet Fitness, Toshiba, Miggy Foods, and Uber.

Tiger Stadium

87. Years the Corktown ballpark (known as Navin Field, Briggs Stadium and Tiger Stadium) was home to the Tigers (1912-1999).

65. Years Tigers owned the park (1912-1977) before the City of Detroit took over and leased it back.

$300,000. Original cost to build the stadium.

3. Number of major renovations the stadium went through.

23,000. Seating capacity in 1912

30,000. Seating capacity in 1923

52,416. Seating capacity in 1937

125. Height in feet of the famous flagpole in fair play in centerfield.

Comerica Park

1997. Year of groundbreaking for new stadium in downtown Detroit to replace Tiger Stadium (October).

2000. Year the Tigers moved into Comerica Park, publicly owned by the Detroit-Wayne County Stadium Authority.

$326 million. Cost to build Comerica Park.

$66 million. Amount Comerica Bank paid for the naming rights.

30. Years the original naming rights contract lasts for.

4. Number of years Comerica has since extended naming rights deal (now ending in 2034)

41,083. Current Comerica Park seating capacity.

Detroit Tigers betting deal
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo)

Detroit Tigers Salaries

$100 million. Size of the Detroit Tigers payroll heading into the 2020 MLB season.

$37.3 million. Amount team actually paid out just to the 40-man roster in 2020 as the MLB season was reduced to 60 games.

$6 million. Final payment the Tigers must also make to a now retired Prince Fielder 

$43.3 million. Total 2020 payroll.

$30 million. Amount per year allocated to team’s highest-paid player, Miguel Cabrera.

2. Number of American League MVP awards Cabrera has won.

4. Number of times Cabrera has been American League batting champion.

11. All-Star appearances for Cabrera.

1. Number of Triple Crowns won by Cabrera. He won it in 2012 when he led the American League in batting average (.330), home runs (44), and RBIs (139).

1. Number of other players on Tigers roster that make over $10m per year.

$110 million. Size of 5-year contract Jordan Zimmerman signed in 2016.

1. Jordan Zimmerman’s wins in 2019

13. Zimmerman’s losses in 2019.

Zero. Years of contract left after 2020, in which Zimmerman began the shortened 2020 season on the disabled list due to a right forearm injury.

Detroit Tigers Ticket Prices

$28. According to Statista.com, the average Detroit Tigers ticket price in 2019.

$33. MLB average ticket price.

23,000. Average home field attendance at Comerica Park in 2018.

19,000. Average home field attendance at Comerica Park in 2019.

$5. Concession stand price for a beer.

$4.75. Concession stand price for a hot dog.

$4.75. Concession stand price for a soft drink.

Zero. Number of fans allowed in the stands in 2020.

Practice Field + Other Expenses

85. Number of years the Detroit Tigers have held Spring Training at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla.

$40 million. Cost of facility-wide renovation in 2017.

100. Number of years it the team agreed it will remain the winter home of the team. The team renamed the stadium Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

30. Height, in feet, of the new scoreboard.

7,000. Size in square feet of the new weight room in the state-of-the-art clubhouse and administration building. The renovated Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium also features the On Deck Suite lounge, Hooters Dugout player interaction space and restaurant, Pepsi Pavilion group picnic space, Margaritaville Deck bar and restaurant, and additional guest suites. The dugouts have been rebuilt in the image of those at Comerica Park and there is more covered seating, box seats, air-conditioned spaces, concession stands, and restrooms for fans.

On-Field Performance

23. Tigers wins in 58 games of shortened 2020 season.

47. Total wins the Tigers posted in 2019 (162-game schedule).

114. Total losses team posted in 2019, making them the worst team in baseball and second-worst in franchise history.

2012. Last time the team won the American League Pennant.

2012. Last time the Tigers made it to the World Series (Swept in World Series by San Francisco Giants).

Zero. Number of AL Pennants since then.

2. Number of times the Tigers have appeared in the MLB playoffs since (lost in the ALCS in 2013 and 2014).

11. Number of American League Pennants won in Tigers history.

4. Number of World Series titles (1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984).

7. Consecutive seasons the Tigers have missed the MLB postseason since 2013.

1. Number of years Tom Monaghan had been Tigers’ owner when they won the 1984 World Series.

104. Number of wins Tigers posted in 1984 (franchise record)

4. Number of games into the 1984 season before Jack Morris threw a no-hitter.

2. Number of awards won by closer Willie Hernández in 1984, who won the Cy Young and AL MVP awards.

4. Number of games it took for the ‘84 Tigers to beat the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series.

5. Number of games it took for the ‘84 Tigers to beat the San Diego Padres in the World Series in five games.

2. Number of complete-game wins thrown by Morris in the ‘84 World Series.

119. Number of losses in 2003 season when former star Alan Trammell was hired to manage the Tigers (most losses in American League history).

5 out of last 6. Number of games Tigers won to avoid the MLB record for futility.

5. Number of games the Tigers took to lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2006 World Series when they were led by AL Rookie of the Year Justin Verlander.

4. Consecutive years the Tigers made the MLB postseason from 2011 through 2014.

8. Number of years Jim Leyland was manager before stepping down in 2014.

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