NEW YORK -- There's money in those pinstripes.
The New York Yankees' value increased 17 percent in the past year to $1.2 billion, Forbes magazine said Thursday in its annual estimates of franchise worth.
The Florida Marlins, given the lowest value at $244 million, had the highest operating income at $43.3 million, according to the magazine.
"As usual, the franchise valuations and operating income numbers are pure fantasy and based on no correct information," Marlins president David Samson said. "To comment on such irresponsible journalism would only give it more credit than it deserves."
The magazine defended its article.
"Forbes compiles its annual valuations of Major League Baseball franchises based on information obtained from team executives, sports bankers, public documents, and other sources believed to be reliable," spokeswoman Elizabeth Wasden said. "We stand by our figures, and the content published."
Despite the record evaluation for the Yankees, Forbes said they were the only ones to post an operating loss after revenue sharing last year. The magazine estimated the Yankees were $25.2 million in the red on operating revenue of $302 million, after revenue-sharing payments to the commissioner's office. The Yankees estimate their revenue-sharing bill for 2006 will be about $70 million.
"I am gratified at the Forbes valuation of the Yankees," New York owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. "We are continuing to build a worldwide brand for the people of New York and Yankee fans everywhere."
The New York Mets were given the second-highest value ($736 million), followed by the Boston Red Sox ($724 million), the Los Angeles Dodgers ($632 million), the Chicago Cubs ($592 million), World Series champion St. Louis ($460 million), San Francisco ($459 million), Atlanta ($458 million) and Philadelphia ($457 million).
At the other end were Florida ($244 million), Tampa Bay ($267 million), Pittsburgh ($274 million), Kansas City ($282 million), Milwaukee ($287 million), Minnesota ($288 million) and Oakland ($292 million).
Franchise values did not include provisions for television networks owned in whole or part by teams, such as the YES Network (Yankees), NESN (Red Sox) and Comcast SportsNetChicago (Cubs), Forbes associate editor Kurt Badenhausen said.
The Dodgers had the second-highest operating income at $27.5 million, followed by Pittsburgh ($25.3 million), Cleveland ($24.9 million), the Mets ($24.4 million), Colorado ($23.9 million), Cincinnati ($22.4 million), the Cubs ($22.2 million), Seattle ($21.5 million), Milwaukee ($20.8 million) and Tampa ($20.2 million).
Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor relations, criticized Forbes' figures last year but declined comment Thursday.