The New England Revolution are one of 10 teams in MLS that make money, according to Forbes. The Revolution made $2.6 million in 2012, have a revenue of $17.9 million, and are worth $89 million. Those three factors make them the 12th most valuable team in MLS.
It's also proof that having a big name, soccer-only stadium, and star players isn't the ticket to fiscal success. Take the New York Red Bulls, who have backing from a company that sells a global product, have one of the most beautiful stadiums in the country, and have one of the most famous players in the world in Thierry Henry. After all that, the Red Bulls lost $6.1 million last year.
Toronto FC have the best formula, given that they've been less than mediocre year in and year out. They're 5th most valued team, with a revenue of $30.9 million and a 2012 profit of $4.5 million.
Toronto have never been to the playoffs.
The two most valued clubs, Seattle and Los Angeles, respectively, appear to be on the right track. Seattle prioritizes its brand name, happy to play in an American football stadium and sign players that have succeeded in Europe-- not necessarily the star players. The Sounders made $18.2 million last year. Los Angeles has its own stadium, a roster that has included David Beckham, Robbie Keane, and Landon Donovan, and still made $7.8 million.
The fact that the Revolution make money is key.
"I would rather give that money to charity if I had it," Robert Kraft, who owns the Revolution and New England Patriots, told British media when asked if he would consider investing in the English Premier League in 2012.
"I want every business to stand on its own," he added.
The Revolution does stand on its own. On the field, the team is in the middle of a Renaissance, making the playoffs for the first time since 2009. They went just as far as the Galaxy and the Sounders in the playoffs, too. What's more, they thumped the Galaxy, 5-0, in the regular season. From a fiscal standpoint, the results are irrelevant. But there's something to be said for creating a product on the field that wins without risking millions of dollars. It's moneyball.
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