The 2013 Astros, who are in the midst of a deep rebuild, are on pace for 108 losses this season. That's not optimal, obviously, but the good news is said deep rebuild is going rather nicely, as GM Jeff Luhnow has methodically added quite a bit of young talent to the system. Also reportedly looking healthy these days is the balance sheet -- historically healthy, if the numbers of Forbes are to be believed.
And speaking of Forbes's numbers, here's the heart of the matter ...
The Astros are on pace to rake in an estimated $99 million in operating income this season. That is nearly as much as the estimated operating income of the previous six World Series championship teams — combined.
As the Forbes piece notes, that estimated $99 million in operating income (i.e., total revenues minus operating expenses) make the 2013 Astros the most profitable team in MLB history, at least according to the educated guesses of Forbes.
This is the result of a payroll that is, by leaps and bounds, the lowest in all of baseball in tandem with healthy cable-television revenues (asset-bubble alert!). As Forbes notes, a good chunk of this extra cash will likely go toward servicing the debt of owner Jim Crane, whose purchase of the team was a highly leveraged one.
The overarching lesson is that owners of major professional sports really have to try to lose money, and even then they may in fact make a lot of money.