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Forbes Baseball Rankings: The Astros Are Still Worth A Pretty Penny

While some clubs have begun to decline in value due to debt and poor decisions, the Houston Astros have avoided that. Oh sure, the talent on the field isn't great, and the farm system is still recovering, but at least they aren't broke. Per Forbes' latest valuations of the franchise, the Astros are worth about $474 million, up from $453 million on last season's list. Here's what Forbes had to say about the Astros:

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Team owner Drayton McLane finalized a deal in October to launch a regional sports network with the NBA's Rockets and Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator. The Astros deal with Fox Sports Houston runs through the 2012 season while the Rockets deal with FSN expires following the 2011-12 season so the network will kick off with Rockets preseason games in 2012. The teams will own between 70% and 80% of the new network. The news at the ballpark isn't as good as the team had its fourth straight decline in attendance last season. McLane is fishing around for someone to buy the Astros and the new cable network makes the team a more attractive property.

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The cable network should continue to grow the Astros brand, but the new owners, whenever they're named, should be focused more on getting the team to be a winner at the box office again. Ticket sales are declining and this team has lacked a clear identity or direction for awhile now, let alone any sort of star attraction. Time will tell how that works out for the Astros, but right now I think it's safe to say that they're going to lose some more attendance this season.

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For another take on this, be sure to take my good colleague David Coleman's latest piece at The Crawfish Boxes for a spin.

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Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.