The Albuquerque Isotopes are enjoying success on the field in 2013. Even with their loss on Thursday night, the Dodgers' Triple-A franchise is 56-43 this season, in first place in the American Southern Division of the Pacific Coast League. But the 'Topes are also successful off the field, named by Forbes this week as the seventh most valuable minor league team.
Isotopes Park was built in 2003 and has 30 luxury suites which Chris Smith at Forbes noted are sold out until 2023. Forbes pegged the Isotopes' annual revenue at $9 million, their operating income at $2 million and the franchise value at $30 million.
Amanda Goodman of Albuquerque TV station KRQE reported on the Forbes ranking, complete with video above, including game action featuring Jonathan Sanchez on the mound. Per Goodman:
According to the write-up in Forbes, the team itself pulled in $9 million in revenue alone and all that cash is coming mostly from where one might expect.
"Ticket sales, merchandise, sponsorships, food and beverage, those types of things," said Isotopes General Manager John Traub.
Traub said since opening their gates again at the new park in 2003, they thought they would do well based on the past success of the Dukes.
However, he said, they had no idea how big the team would become.
"It's been very humbling 'cause our staff works their tails off to make sure that our fans' experience at our ballpark is second to none," Traub said.
Triple-A teams make up nine of the top 10 teams in franchise value, with Class-A Dayton (Reds) of the Midwest League checking in at No. 6, just ahead of the Isotopes. The only Pacific Coast League teams ahead of Albuquerque are No. 1 Sacramento (Athletics), valued at $38 million, and No. 2 Round Rock (Rangers), valued at $35 million.
The Dodgers, who had the Albuquerque Dukes as their Triple-A franchise from 1972-2000, returned to Albuquerque in 2009. The Dodgers have an affiliation agreement with the Isotopes through the 2014 season.