It's hardly been a secret that the Seattle Sounders have been the biggest success story in MLS, at least from a business sense. Now, Forbes has put an actual value estimation on just how much of one the Sounders have been. By the publications estimation, the Sounders are now the most valuable franchise in MLS at $175 million. Based on the 2012 numbers, the Sounders also brought in about $48 million in revenue and turned a very solid $18 million in profits.
Obviously, this all needs to be taken with a strong helping of salt. As MLS is a single-entity and has not opened their books to anyone, let alone Forbes, this is probably based almost entirely on tax returns. This was also done before the Sounders shelled out somewhere between $10 million-$13 million on Designated Player expenditures (buying out Christian Tiffert, paying Obafemi Martins' exit clause and salary and Clint Dempsey's salary), all of which would surely have a significant effect on the bottom line.
In the big picture, though, it's pretty clear that the situation is looking very good for the Sounders and MLS. As the story points out, the Sounders have enjoyed a nearly 500 percent increase on their initial franchise investment of $30 million. The average franchise is now worth about $103 million, which is a dramatic 175 percent increase over the previous estimation done in 2008. It's also encouraging to see that just eight of the league's 19 teams were operating in the red, with five of them operating at healthy profits of at least $5 million.