I missed where the Cardinals said that. I have not head them say that. I did ask during the season if that was the case -- but didn't get a clear answer. Worth asking again. But I have seen no report, no comment, no quote anywhere to suggest they said that.
Allow me to trade carefully here and suggest that you have oversimplified things, while also answering your own question. What exactly do teams invest, if not their own revenues? Since 1996, the Cardinals have
-- a new ballpark (value up!)
-- ownership of several affiliates (value up!)
-- a billion-dollar TV deal (value up!)
-- access to MLB revenues from tech advancements, i.e., MLBAM (value way up!)
-- sales of other teams to show what people are willing to pay for teams (value way up!)
-- land (value up!)
All of these things increase the franchise value as you suggest, and some of them do so with the team just sitting there, existing. Like some teams do.
The Cardinals have made profits, for years. No one has said differently. Stop moving the goalposts. If you don't give me credit for knowing better, then at least show the respect to fellow chatters.