Baseball's cash stash

By Tim Arango, Fortune writer

(Fortune Magazine) -- Funded with close to $75 million chipped in by the 30 teams, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the league's Internet arm, could be worth as much as $3 billion if it goes public, according to estimates from investment bankers. In other words: three times what baseball's most valuable franchise, the New York Yankees, is worth.

Two years ago the owners considered taking a piece of MLBAM, which owns MLB.com, to the public markets, but backed off over worries about opening their books to public scrutiny and concerns that the players would demand a cut. But eventually the owners will want to monetize their investments.

The worry inside baseball circles is that the players will make the argument that MLBAM is nothing without them-and interfere with an IPO by demanding a portion of the proceeds or seeking a steep rise in licensing fees.

"There's a lot of value here. As we go forward I'd expect the board to periodically review it," says Bob Bowman, CEO of MLBAM. A representative for the players' union declined to comment. So despite the owners and players hammering out a new collective-bargaining agreement meant to ensure five more years of labor peace, it is a smart bet that billions of dollars in potential Internet riches could fry détente faster than Chris Carpenter's fastball.  Top of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.