The cutoff to qualify among the world’s most valuable sports franchises is higher than ever, up 18 per cent this year to $1.75 billion. There are 36 franchises worth at least one billion dollars that did not make the top 50. Credit soaring TV contracts for the rising franchise values, as well as labor deals with players that almost ensure profitability barring outrageous spending on payroll by an owner.
No sports league is as profitable as the NFL where the average team earned an operating profit (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $91 million and no one banked less than $26 million. The boffo profits helped 29 NFL teams rank among the 50 most valuable franchises (only the Bengals, Lions and Bills missed the cut). Other sports include eight MLB clubs and seven each from the NBA and European soccer.
The Dallas Cowboys lead for the second straight year at $4.2 billion. Jerry Jones’ team unseated Real Madrid last year as the most valuable sports team. The Spanish soccer powerhouse had ranked No. 1 for three straight years.
Below is the full list of the most valuable teams across all sports (51 this year thanks to a tie at $1.75 billion between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). Values are based on Forbes valuations done over the past year for NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, F1, soccer and Nascar (no NHL, F1 or Nascar teams made the top 50).