Earlier this month Forbes released its list of the most valuable sports franchises in the world. Per the site, this year the cut off was the highest ever, with the least valuable franchise on this list of 50 teams – the LA Angels – being valued at $1.75 billion. According to Forbes, teams are valued so high that there were 36 teams each worth more than a billion dollars that didn’t even make it onto their list.
Why are values soaring? First of all TV rights. Have you ever taken a look at how much ESPN pays to air games? Last year, ESPN and TNT signed a deal with the NBA for the right to air games through the 2024-25 season which, according to reports, is worth $2.26 billion a year.
But it’s not just ESPN. Back at the end of 2011, the big networks, NBC, CBS and Fox, signed a new deal with the NFL that increased the price by 60 percent and will last through the 2022 season.
So it’s no surprise that teams are earning more in operating profit. Overall, the NFL is the most profitable while no NHL team made it onto the list. We decided to take a closer look at the most valuable franchise of each of the five big sports: football, basketball, baseball, soccer and hockey.
NFL: The Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys aren’t only the most valuable NFL team, they are the most valuable franchise in the world. Per Forbes, they are valued at $4.2 billion. But it wasn’t always like this. When Jerry Jones bought the team it was losing money on a monthly basis. Jones took a huge gamble when he decided to spend his life savings on the team, but he changed football and the league. Remember why teams are more profitable? The TV rights. You and every owner in the league can thank Jones for that. He is also responsible for individual sponsorship deals between teams and partners.
Dallas sits at the top of the list for the second year running.
NBA: The New York Knicks
The New York Knicks are seventh on Forbes’ list, but the most valuable franchise in the NBA, a fact that is slightly shocking when you think about the season they just had. There was more drama surrounding the Knicks than basketball in 2016-17, a year that ended with Carmelo Anthony looking to be traded to the Cavaliers or Rockets, Kristaps Porzingis leaving without an exit interview and legendary coach Phil Jackson being let go as president of the organization.
Still, the Knicks were the league’s most valuable team in the league for the second year in a row. They are worth $3.3 billion, up from $3 billion last year and $1.4 in 2014. Per Forbes, the renovations at Madison Square Garden is one of the reasons for their value increasing steadily. Last year, they turned an operating profit of $141 million, the best in the league.
MLB: The New York Yankees
It’s no secret that the New York Yankees are valuable, and for years they weren’t afraid to go out and buy talent to win championships. Lately they’ve been relying on their farm system, and their young stars look like they may win a few more championships for the Bronx Bombers in eh years to come.
According to Forbes, the Yankees, the most valuable team in baseball, has a team value of $3.7 billion, the second most valuable team in the world. Perhaps it’s because that even though they haven’t won a World Series since 2009, Yankee fans still flock to the stadium, this season averaging nearly 39,600 fans a game (at the time of writing this).
Soccer: Manchester United
Real Madrid used to rule the soccer world, but the Spanish team has dropped in value over the last few years, opening the door for Manchester United. The British team is valued at $3.69 billion, up 11 percent, making it the third most valuable in the world. Their revenue during the 2015-16 season was $765 million, that’s nearly $80 million more than Real and their rival Barcelona.
Back in 2014, ManU signed a ten year kit deal with Adidas worth 750 million pounds (or $977 million), nearly three times more than their previous deal with Nike.
NHL: The New York Rangers
The New York Rangers may have the highest value in the NHL, but they have the lowest value than any team in this piece. In fact, they weren’t even able to crack Forbes’ top 50 valuable teams, which doesn’t reflect well on the league. The Rangers are valued at $1.25 million and have the highest revenue in the league, at $219 million with an operating income of $74.5 million. They also have an insanely loyal fan base, and tickets are sold for an average $87 a game, which helped the franchise rank in the top three for ticket sales in the NHL during the 2015-16 season.