Forbes has done its first MLS valuation since 2008, and unsurprisingly the LA Galaxy are considered MLS' second most valuable franchise. That 2008 study by Forbes was its first valuation of MLS, and a sign that the league had reached a significant plateau. Forbes returning to look at the league shows the growth since that pivotal moment when David Beckham joined the league and the Seattle Sounders joined as an expansion franchise.
That original study in 2008 valued the Galaxy at an even $100 million. There were many ways LA earned revenue with several of them directly coming from the midseason acquisition of Beckham. There was the $4 million shirt sponsorship from Herbalife, and the 300,000 Beckham jerseys purchased by fans in 2007. The 48 suites at the now StubHub Center leased for as much as $150,000 a season, and there are 1,500 club seats that go for an average of $4,500 per season. There was also another $6 million estimated in associated sponsors.
The LA Galaxy may no longer be the league's most valuable asset, but they're not far behind the league leading Seattle Sounders. Forbes currently values then at $170 million which would include the new Time Warner TV contract, the new stadium naming rights deal with StubHub, the renewal of the Herbalife shirt sponsorship, and any increase in the price of suites and club seats.
Forbes lists the Galaxy as one of ten teams turning a profit, at 7.8 million before taxes and other various costs. That's trailing the Sounders, Timbers, and Dynamo despite LA finishing second in total revenue. Seattle is certainly helped by their stadium situation and popularity, showing almost twice the profit as the other three teams mentioned.
Also unsurprisingly the Galaxy's tenant at the StubHub Center, Chivas USA, were ranked dead last. With revenue of only $15 million, their valuation was $36 million less than MLS is currently asking for expansion clubs. Surprisingly, Chivas weren't given the biggest deficit. That distinction belongs to the New York Red Bulls, who finished behind Toronto FC in revenue.
MLS' upcoming television deal renegotiation looks to see the league grow significantly in the offseason between 2014 and 2015. The increase in that shared revenue plus the franchise fees for New York City FC and Orland City, plus any other announcements upcoming (cough Miami cough) is a planned revenue bump right after the free advertising the league is sure to get from the 2014 World Cup.
The numbers Forbes puts out have to be taken with a grain of salt, but they give a sense of the league's general health. It's been a slow build, but the league continues to get closer to its targets every year.