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The most profitable team in baseball

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Maury Brown has a piece up at his website about the cash cow that is the Florida Marlins.

The Marlins, you ask? Surely you jest...they are poor, losing money, almost had to move the team before the Florida taxpayers agreed to build them a stadium...

However, Brown notes that Forbes estimated the Marlins' operating income in 2007 at $43.3 million. That was the highest in baseball, with the Dodgers coming second, at $25.5 million.

How can the Marlins make money when no one shows up at the games? Well, Florida's share of the MLB revenue sharing pot -- the money that the low-revenue teams get from the high-revenue teams -- is supposed to be $25 million. Florida's 2008 payroll is $20 million.

Not bad. Particularly since Jeffrey Loria bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002 (of which $38.5 million came in the form of an interest-free loan from MLB), and the franchise is now worth $244 million (according to the Forbes estimate).