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Forbes: Sports franchise values booming around the world

          Forbes this week released what it is calling the definitive money ranking in sports, and WOWZA! The SportsMoney Index ranks 430 teams, athletes, agencies, and brands based on their financial success, influence, relationships with others in the sports world, and how their values affect one another. Forbes ranking methodology accounts for a team’s financial power – the more wealthy, the more powerful – and players, while athletes were scored on a combination of team salary and endorsements, as well as the values their team and brands they represent. For instance, athletes with ties to Nike, No. 1 on the index, were given higher brand equity than those who represent Adidas, Puma, New Balance, Under Armour, and other athletic brands. Likewise, a brand that has New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, the top ranked football player on the list, will score higher than the Browns’ Brock Osweiler.

          Their top 10, in order, were Nike, Barcelona Football Club, PepsiCo., Real Madrid Football Club, LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo, the New York Yankees, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the New York Knicks, and Budweiser.

          Locally, Drew Brees ranked highest on the index at No. 33. The New Orleans Saints are at No. 41. Anthony Davis ranked No. 158, while the New Orleans Pelicans ranked No. 257. Brees was credited for his relationships with Nike and CAA. He is estimated to make $45.3 million in annual income, with $31.3 million in salary and $14 million in endorsements. The Saints were valued at $1.8 billion dollars, with $358 million in revenue and $77 million in operating income. Davis had $28.1 million in earnings from his $22.1 million salary and $6 million in endorsement deals.

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          While the web of the SportsMoney Index is interesting, I find their listings of team valuations truly fascinating. The NFL had the most teams represented on the top 50 with 27. There were eight European soccer clubs and NBA teams and seven MLB teams.

          Although they haven’t won a championship since 1995, the Dallas Cowboys were ranked as the world’s most valuable franchise at $4 billion. “America’s Team” was buoyed by its 13-3 record last year, led by two rookies, quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. It’s the first time a soccer team hasn’t been on top of the world since Forbes started compiling a top 50 list in 2010. Manchester United was on top from 2010 to 2012, while Real Madrid was king the last three years.

          Cowboys owner Jerry Jones enjoyed a sports-team record $270 million in operating profit during the 2014 season, $75 million more than any other franchise, according to Forbes, based on the team’s “revenue streams from its $1.2 billion home, AT&T Stadium, premium seat revenue ($125 million) and sponsorship revenue ($120 million),” both tops in the NFL. The Cowboys are also the only team to have their own licensed merchandise arrangement, so anything with the blue star emblazed on it benefits the team directly without being shared by the leagues other 31 teams.

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          The NFL is the most powerful and lucrative sports league in the world. Football teams made up more than half (27/50) of the most valuable teams in the world, after just 20 teams made the list last year. The average franchise in the top 50 is worth $2.2 billion compared to $1.75 billion a year ago. The average NFL franchise is worth nearly $2 billion, up 160 percent from $732 million a decade ago, according to Forbes.

          Real Madrid, led by the world’s highest-paid athlete Cristiano Ronaldo, won its 11th Champions League title in May, yet fell to No. 2 overall with an estimated value of $3.65 billion. Their archrival, Barcelona, ranked third at $3.55 billion, despite having Lionel Messi, arguably the most popular athlete in the world. The New York Yankees, worth $3.4 billion, were fourth, while Manchester United rounded out the top five at $3.32 billion.

          The breakdown by sport is 27 NFL teams (versus 20 last year), seven MLB (versus 12), eight NBA (versus 10) and eight European soccer (versus seven).

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Forbes Top 50 Worldwide Team Values

Forbes this week released a listing of the 50 highest-valued sports teams as part of its SportsMoney Index as part of its ranking of 430 teams, athletes, agencies, and brands based on their financial success, influence, relationships with others in the sports world, and how their values affect one another.


Rank Team Sport Country Value ($B)
1 Dallas Cowboys Football USA 4
2 Real Madrid Soccer Spain 3.65
3 Barcelona Soccer Spain 3.55
4 New York Yankees Baseball USA 3.4
5 Manchester United Soccer England 3.32
6 New England Patriots Football USA 3.2
7 New York Knicks Basketball USA 3
8 Washington Redskins Football USA 2.85
9 New York Giants Football USA 2.8
10 Los Angeles Lakers Basketball USA 2.7
  San Francisco 49ers Football USA  
12 Bayern Munich Soccer Germany 2.68
13 New York Jets Football USA 2.6
14 Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball USA 2.5
  Houston Texans Football USA  
16 Chicago Bears Football USA 2.45
17 Philadelphia Eagles Football USA 2.4
18 Boston Red Sox Baseball USA 2.3
  Chicago Bulls Basketball USA  
20 San Francisco Giants Baseball USA 2.25
21 Chicago Cubs Baseball USA 2.2
22 Boston Celtics Basketball USA 2.1
23 Arsenal Soccer England 2.02
24 Los Angeles Clippers Basketball USA 2
25 Green Bay Packers Football USA 1.95
26 Denver Broncos Football USA 1.94
27 Baltimore Ravens Football USA 1.93
28 Manchester City Soccer England 1.92
29 Golden State Warriors Basketball USA 1.9
  Pittsburgh Steelers Football USA  
31 Indianapolis Colts Football USA 1.88
32 Seattle Seahawks Football USA 1.87
33 Miami Dolphins Football USA 1.85
34 Brooklyn Nets Basketball USA 1.7
35 Atlanta Falcons Football USA 1.67
  Chelsea Soccer England  
37 New York Mets Baseball USA 1.65
38 St. Louis Cardinals Baseball USA 1.6
39 Minnesota Vikings Football USA 1.59
40 Carolina Panthers Football USA 1.56
41 Liverpool Soccer England 1.55
42 Arizona Cardinals Football USA 1.54
43 Kansas City Chiefs Football USA 1.53
44 San Diego Chargers Football USA 1.525
45 New Orleans Saints Football USA 1.515


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