Found August 27, 2013 on
The Houston Astros are 44-86. They will likely have the worst record in baseball for the third consecutive year.
In spite of their putrid on-field performance, a Forbes report indicates the Astros are the '27 Yankees when it comes to profit margins. Thanks to their roster that's so cheap it looks like it's straight from the plot of Major League and their insanely rich television deal with local regional sports network CSN Houston, this year's Houston Astros... the 44-86 Houston Astros... are set to become the most profitable team in MLB history.
That must be some consolation to all the fans spending their money on the Astros this year and helping them achieve such a distinguished honor:
"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.
Yet the Astros are 43-86, worst in the majors. Of the 270 Major League Baseball teams who have taken the field since 2005, none have finished with a worse winning percentage than Houston’s.
They have become so profitable thanks to slashed payroll expenses and soaring television revenues.
Since becoming the Astros’ owner in 2011, Crane has gutted the team of its most expensive players while building up the farm system. Over the course of this season, the team will pay its players an estimated $21 million in salary and bonuses. That is down $56 million from 2011, when Crane bought the team."
Of course the Astros came out and denied the report, saying Forbes' math was flat out wrong. As anyone who has ever had to make change for a dollar knows, there's a certain art to budgeting and balancing the books. Owners don't quite want to admit to making gobs of money because they know players will want a larger piece of whatever profits are to be made. Fights over revenue are at the core of every modern labor dispute in professional sports. It's all a giant chess game about shuffling profit, debt, equity, and spending to make the numbers appear however you want.
And who knows whether Astros owner Jim Crane is intent on using an MLB franchise as a plaything to make hundreds of millions of dollars or is actually intent on winning baseball games. He maintains it's the latter and that he'll reinvest in the team when the time is right, but time and results will be the ultimate judge.
But there is no disputing these this fact - the Astros payroll is miniscule compared to the revenue they pull in from their local TV contract. The Astros make $80 million per year from CSN Houston alone, several times greater than their current payroll. And what's more, CSN Houston's well documented troubles in gaining distribution (they're only in 40% of homes in the market, which is an unmitigated disaster) hardly make a dent in their profitability. Even with the Astros' reported $23 million dollar loss thanks to their 45% equity stake in CSN Houston and the network's struggles, they would still make $57 million from that local TV contract.
The Houston Astros are the prime example of the lucrative, precarious world of televised sports. Even the worst team in MLB can make tens of millions from involvement in a regional sports network. It's why so many teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, etc. are investing in their own regional sports networks. They are an incredibly valuable source of revenue, regardless of how many butts are in the seats or wins on the scoreboard or even fans with access to the channel. After all, rising revenue from cable fees is the central reason ESPN rules the sports world at the moment.
The Astros can continue to make money from CSN Houston, but the local carriage fight also shows a foreboding tightening of the sports rights bubble. If the Astros continue to lose and the channel charges more than $3 per subscriber per month, why would the 60% of distributors not carrying CSN Houston want to play ball? Why pass those costs onto consumers sitting at home? While the a la carte cable fight rages on at the national level, it's situations like what's happening with CSN Houston that is a bellwether for the future of televised sports. If the network doesn't get on the air, it could mark a turning point where distributors and consumers finally say enough is enough and refuse to pay those costs that are leading to record profits.
The Astros have an incredibly successful business model at the moment. It may just not be sustainable, though.
BEST OF MAXIM
The Houston Astros may not be anywhere near the best team in baseball, in fact they are the worst, but when it comes to making money they are number one. That’s right, the Houston Astros are making more money than any other team in the major leagues this season, and they are doing it with a beer-budget payroll. Houston started the season with the lowest payroll in the major...
Well, if you consider the fact that the Houston Astros are making more money than any other team in baseball — then yes they are.
In terms of wins and losses, the Houston Astro’s are baseball’s worst team. This may have something to do with the fact that Erik Bedard — the owner of a 3-9 record and a 1.492 WHIP — is their only player making over a million bucks this season...
The Yankees and the Dodgers could probably take a tip or two from the Houston Astros’ book on cost efficiency.
The worst team in baseball is on track to make an estimated $99 million in operating income this season — nearly as much as the estimated operating income for the previous six World Series champions, combined — according to the money guys over at Forbes. At 46-83,...
Matt Dominguez hit a tiebreaking solo homer with two outs in the ninth inning and Chris Carter followed with his second home run of the game to lift the Houston Astros to a 10-8 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.
The Astros squandered a five-run lead and trailed 8-7 before tying the score on Carter's RBI single in the seventh inning. White Sox reliever Addison...
Forbes ran an article stating the lowly Houston Astros are the most profitable team in MLB history. The franchise has now publicly called it out as a fraud.
The Houston Astros may have the worst record in baseball, but according to a Forbes article they are far from being the biggest losers.
Baseball fans in Houston knew they were not going to get much this season and sure enough they have not. Their team is staring a third consecutive 100+ loss season and will have the worst record in baseball since...
Jarred Cosart was pumped to go up against one of the best starters in baseball.
Cosart's outing started slowly before he quickly bounced back to give the Astros six strong innings of one-run ball, but Houston's bullpen failed him in a 6-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
''You got to be nervous before every game, but you know you're going up...
Paul Clemens let his manager do most of the talking after a fine performance in his first major league start.
Clemens pitched six sharp innings for the Houston Astros, but the Chicago White Sox scored three times in the eighth to rally for a 4-3 victory on Tuesday night.
''It's an honor, it's a privilege,'' Clemens said of getting the opportunity to start...
For the third straight season, the Houston Astros are well on their way toward finishing with the worst record in Major League Baseball. They finished with a pathetic 56 wins in 2011 and took a tiny step back with 55 in 2012. The 2013 Astros would need to win 14 of their last 33 games […]
Chris Carter was home again Monday night. He walked into U.S. Cellular Field still feeling nostalgic still wondering what could have been if the White Sox hadn’t given up on him.
Carter was drafted by the White Sox in 2005 the year Chicago’s South Side team beat the Astros in the World Series.
Eight years and three stops later Carter showcased his raw power Monday night while...
When Bo Porter was hired to lead the Houston Astros, one of his first moves was to add Dave Trembley to his coaching staff. The hiring was more than a young, first-year manager bringing on board a mentor. It was a case of loyalty rewarded. The 61-year-old Trembley and 41-year-old Porter go way back. And […]
It’s the final game in the series with the Houston Astros before a well deserved day off. Chris Sale is in the office and the boys are wearing the 1983 uniforms today.
Grab some bench and a drink and see you soon
*1 – 0 (Sox Lead)
Astros – (He gone)(He gone)(He gone)
Sox – Garcia,L(walk), Beckham(single,L.Garcia to second) Keppinger(single...
The White Sox continue their homestand with a three game series against the Houston Astros. The Sox are coming off their fourth straight series win after taking the last two games against the Rangers. The Sox are 14-6 in their last 20 games and probably playing their best baseball of the season. The Astros are coming off a series win over the Blue Jays but are 4-6 in their last...