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The Value of the Top 50 US Sports Franchises, Ranked

Andrew Lisa

Move over, baseball. When it comes to money, football is undoubtedly America’s favorite pastime. Seven of the top 10 most valuable sports franchises in the country are NFL teams. Not only are most of America’s 30 richest sports teams football clubs, but all 32 NFL teams also found their way into the top 50. Still, the other leagues aren’t exactly going broke.

Using data from Forbes and Statista, GOBankingRates ranked the top 50 sports teams from most valuable to least. Whether you’re thinking of buying a sports team or just wondering what your favorite franchise is worth, click through to learn about America’s top teams — all of which are 10-figure entities — by monetary value.

1. Dallas Cowboys

Franchise value: $5 billion
Total championships: 5

The Cowboys’ status as the country’s most valuable sports franchise for 11 straight years can largely be traced to its owner, the business-savvy Jerry Jones. Jones reinvented the modern sponsorship model after buying the team for a mere $150 million. He quickly secured lucrative deals with Pepsi, Nike and other major corporations — a formula that was soon parroted by the rest of the league’s owners. Today, AT&T Stadium earns $108million a year from luxury suites alone.

 

2. New York Yankees

Franchise value: $4.6 billion
Total championships: 27

Babe Ruth. Joe DiMaggio. Lou Gehrig. Derek Jeter. Arguably the most iconic team in all of sports, the New York Yankees boast a retired numbers list that reads like a Hall of Fame all-star roster. Although the vaunted history of the Bronx Bombers — and its unprecedented 27 championships — spans generations, one family name has dominated the pinstripes throughout the entire modern era: Steinbrenner.

 

3. New York Knicks

Franchise value: $4 billion
Total championships: 2

The most valuable team in basketball for two years running, the Knickerbockers franchise holds the distinction of being one of the only publicly traded teams in all of sports.

4. New England Patriots

Franchise value: $3.8 billion
Total championships: 6

The New England Patriots are the most dominant NFL dynasty of this generation — and perhaps ever. Led by Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback ever to play the game, and Bill Belichick, one of history’s winningest coaches, the Patriots command a $100 deposit from fans just to stand in line behind 70,000 others on a season ticket waiting list.

5. Los Angeles Lakers

Franchise value: $3.7 billion
Total championships: 16

In 2016, one of the most successful chapters in the Lakers’ storied history came to a close when Kobe Bryant retired. It would go into the books as the worst season in the long legacy of the team, which suffered its second-worst season the year prior. Still, the Lakers’ giant market, its stadium earnings and the sheer power of its globally known brand keep the dollars coming.

6. Golden State Warriors

Franchise value: $3.5 billion
Total championships: 5

While it boasts a strong market and good gate receipts, the secret to the success of basketball’s No. 3 most valuable team is simple — winning. The Warriors brought a trophy home in 2015, 2017 and 2018. Their ratings skyrocketed, as did the cost they charged for naming rights to their new stadium in San Francisco.

7. New York Giants

Franchise value: $3.3 billion
Total championships: 4

For six years running, the Giants have drawn more fans to their games than any team except the Cowboys. Fans are getting used to a new coach, Pat Shurmur, who had a 5-11 record during his first season with the Giants.

 

8. Los Angeles Dodgers

Franchise value: $3.3 billion
Total championships: 6

Just one team in baseball is more valuable than the Los Angeles Dodgers — and that, of course, is the Yankees. The Dodgers stay flush, in part, thanks to the team’s enviably giant market. It also helps that they’re good. The Dodgers took the Astros to Game 7 in one of the most dramatic and closely watched World Series in modern history, which proved to be ratings gold for Fox Sports.

9. Los Angeles Rams

Franchise value: $3.2 billion
Total championships: 3

In 2016, the Rams ended a more than two-decade-long football drought in Los Angeles, the second-largest media market in the country. The inaugural season was a flop on the field, but today, the team is among the 10 most valuable franchises across all major sports. Although a new $5 billion stadium is still in the works, the nearly century-old venue the team is temporarily calling home is in the midst of a major renovation to improve the fan experience.

10. Boston Red Sox

Franchise value: $3.2 billion
Total championships: 9

Longtime Yankees rival the Boston Red Sox are the third most valuable team in the MLB. That’s thanks in part to a loyal fan base that keeps showing up to see the team play at the vaunted Fenway Park, even as ticket prices continue to skyrocket.

11. Washington Redskins

Franchise value: $3.1 billion
Total championships: 3

The Redskins are already making plans to replace the team’s 20-year-old facility — perhaps moving back to its original stomping grounds in Washington, D.C. The franchise, which has forcefully resisted changing its controversial name, claims an operating income of $122 million in a metro market with 6.1 million potential viewers.

12. Chicago Cubs

Franchise value: $3.1 billion
Total championships: 3

The Cubs have three championships to their name — but two of them came when Theodore Roosevelt was president. The Cubs’ historic and all-around depressing drought ended 108 years later in 2016, when they beat the Cleveland Indians in a marathon 10-inning Game 7.

13. San Francisco 49ers

Franchise value: $3.05 billion
Total championships: 5

Some income can be credited to the team’s former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose refusal to stand during the National Anthem spurred a nationwide discussion and made Kaepernick a lightning rod for controversy. It also sold lots of merchandise. Kaepernick jerseys and gear are among the most popular items in the league. The fact that no NFL team hosts more non-football events than Levi’s Stadium also helps keep the money rolling in.

14. San Francisco Giants

Franchise value: $3 billion
Total championships: 5

In 1958, the New York Giants followed their crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers, to California as pioneers of West Coast baseball. More than 60 years later, just a few teams are more valuable than the San Francisco Giants (one being the Dodgers).

15. Chicago Bulls

Franchise value: $2.9 billion
Total championships: 6

Despite generational team feuding and several letdowns with new additions, the Bulls retain the title of best attendance in the NBA. That, coupled with an incredibly powerful national and global brand, has allowed the team to maintain a place among the five most valuable NBA franchises in America.

 

16. New York Jets

Franchise value: $2.85 billion
Total championships: 1

The modern New York Jets are, in a word, terrible. They’ve chalked up losing seasons every year but one dating back to 2010. Currently, the team is using cash flow from its stadium earnings to pay off old debts related to the facility’s construction.

17. Boston Celtics

Franchise value: $2.8 billion
Total championships: 17

Just four NBA teams are worth more than the Boston Celtics, who have racked up 17 championships over the franchise’s long and storied history. No basketball team has ever won more. The team doesn’t just rely on its celebrated past to make money, though. The Celtics recently became one of a handful of teams to sign a jersey sponsorship deal. The GE logo now appears on the team’s trademark green-and-white jerseys.

18. Houston Texans

Franchise value: $2.8 billion
Total championships: 0

With less than 20 years of team history, the Texans boast the NFL’s best defense when it comes to stinginess in yards allowed — but the franchise also lays claim to one of the worst offenses. The team’s owner went into significant debt when he purchased the newly formed franchise during the 1999 expansion, but he settled those debts ahead of time and turned the Texans into the NFL’s No. 9 most valuable team.

19. Chicago Bears

Franchise value: $2.9 billion
Total championships: 1

Rounding out the top 10 is one of the most famous names in sports, the Chicago Bears, which have been controlled by the McCaskey family for nearly a century. The team’s revenue is lackluster, but the franchise is buoyed by the fact that as the city’s only NFL franchise, the Bears have Chicago’s loyal football fan base all to themselves.

 

20. Philadelphia Eagles

Franchise value: $2.75 billion
Total championships: 1

Hailing from a notoriously crude and unforgiving football city, the Eagles have been called a lot of things. But today, football fans, prognosticators and pundits alike are calling the Birds something they haven’t in generations: one of the best teams in the NFL.

21. Denver Broncos

Franchise value: $2.65 billion
Total championships: 3

The Broncos charge a lot for tickets, but the loyal Denver fan base continues to pay big bucks to see its team play. It is, after all, one of the country’s top football markets. More than 73,000 people are on the season ticket waiting list, and at 400 consecutive games over 47 years, the team boasts the longest home sellout streak in football history.

22. Green Bay Packers

Franchise value: $2.625 billion
Total championships: 4

In the world of corporate sports ownership, the Green Bay Packers — and their beloved Lambeau Field — stand alone. The team has about 360,760 owners: the fans that cheer it on. Publicly owned for nearly a century, the team uses sales of shares to improve the park and prevents any one person from owning more than 200,000 shares. When snow falls on the frozen tundra, it is the fans who shovel the stadium.

23. Atlanta Falcons

Franchise value: $2.6 billion

Total championships: 0

The Falcons have no championships to their name, but there is some good news. Atlanta has nearly $1 billion in sponsorship commitments for the team’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which hosted it’s first Super Bowl in 2019.

 

24. Baltimore Ravens

Franchise value: $2.59 billion
Total championships: 2

Although the Ravens don’t even make the top 20 biggest markets in the NFL, their fans cough up more for tickets than all but six other teams. That’s partially because the Ravens are all about upgrades. The franchise has kept its fans coming back — and reaching into their wallets — by embarking on a series of massive improvements to M&T Bank Stadium.

25. Pittsburgh Steelers

Franchise value: $2.585 billion
Total championships: 6

Since 1933, the Steelers have been firmly in the grasp of three consecutive men named Rooney. That level of continuity and consistency is not limited to the team’s ownership. The Steelers have had just three head coaches in 45 years.

26. Seattle Seahawks

Franchise value: $2.58 billion
Total championships: 1

The Pete Carroll era, which began in 2010, has positioned the Seahawks as one of the most reliably excellent teams in football. They’ve visited the playoffs five years in a row, a streak beaten by just two other teams.

27. Miami Dolphins

Franchise value: $2.575 billion
Total championships: 2

The Dolphins squeeze into the top 20 by being a team with something for everyone. You can buy season tickets in the nosebleeds for $45 per game, or you can hobnob with the nobles for $2,000 in what Forbes calls “living room boxes.” The team took the unusual but ultimately successful step of scrapping 10,000 stadium seats to give the remaining fans a better experience.

 

28. Oakland Raiders

Franchise value: $2.42 billion
Total championships: 3

In 1966, Al Davis, father of current owner Mark Davis, shelled out $180,000 to buy the Raiders. A little more than 50 years later, the team is worth nearly $2.4 billion. Although the storied team’s 2016 playoff run was its first since 2002, Raider Nation has its eyes on the future, not the past. The team will be heading to Las Vegas in 2020.

29. Minnesota Vikings

Franchise value: $2.4 billion
Total championships: 1

When it comes to profitability, Minnesota is a football city banking on all things new. The Vikings are playing in a brand-new, $1.1 billion stadium. Not only did the team immediately secure 60,400 full-season seat commitments for its new digs, but the Vikings also sold out the entire season’s worth of single-game tickets. The Vikings walk a delicate but successful tightrope. Tickets to games at the new stadium are more expensive than they were at the old, but the team manages to keep prices below the league average.

30. Indianapolis Colts

Franchise value: $2.38 billion
Total championships: 2

The Indianapolis Colts are a team driven by celebrity star power. Longtime quarterback and marketing powerhouse Peyton Manning helmed the team for a generation. When he left, the team turned the reins over to budding superstar Andrew Luck, who went on to sign a record-breaking contract.

31. Brooklyn Nets

Franchise value: $2.35 billion
Total championships: 0

The Nets joined the Celtics and Warriors in the tiny fraternity of franchises that have signed jersey sponsorship deals. The Nets will wear the logo of software company Infor, which gives the team millions each year to compel players to serve as running, jumping advertisements. The firm will also provide data analytics services off the court.

32. Carolina Panthers

Franchise value: $2.3 billion
Total championships: 0

The Panthers are enjoying their new home in a newly renovated stadium — one that cost the taxpayers a pretty penny, thanks to a contract that was largely mismanaged by the city and state.

33. Houston Rockets

Franchise value: $2.3 billion
Total championships: 2

One of the 10 most valuable teams in basketball, the Houston Rockets underwent a change of ownership in October 2017. Restaurant magnate Tilman Fertitta purchased the team for an NBA record $2.2 billion.

34. New York Mets

Franchise value: $2.3 billion
Total championships: 2

The Mets launched a mobile ticket subscription giving fans standing room only tickets to a whopping 78 home games.

 

35. Los Angeles Chargers

Franchise value: $2.275 billion
Total championships: 0

Before 2015, Los Angeles was a city without a football team, after losing the Raiders more than 20 years earlier. The Rams changed all that, and then the Chargers piled on when they too announced a move to L.A. in 2017. Now, after more than half a century, it’s San Diego that’s teamless. Both the Rams and the Chargers — and their fans — are looking forward to moving into a shared, $5 billion stadium in Inglewood, which is currently under construction.

 

36. Dallas Mavericks

Franchise value: $2.25 billion
Total championships: 1

In a single year, the Maverick’s valuation has risen 18%. The team, owned by Mark Cuban, has penned a $40 million dollar deal with Fox sorts Southwest that likely help them gain a spot on this years top 50 most valuable sports teams.

37. Los Angeles Clippers

Franchise value: $2.2 billion
Total championships: 0

The team is reaping the benefits of a contract extension that doubled its take from an exclusive deal with Fox Sports Prime Ticket. The six-year extension allows the team to pull in as much as $55 million per season, up from the $25 million the deal paid a year prior.

38. Arizona Cardinals

Franchise value: $2.15 billion
Total championships: 2

The Cardinals had been sitting pretty with a 20-year naming rights agreement with the University of Phoenix. Unfortunately, the for-profit school pulled out after just 11 years. Eager to keep its place among the most valuable sports franchises, the Cardinals gave State Farm insurance the naming rights to their beloved stadium.

39. St. Louis Cardinals

Franchise value: $2.1 billion
Total championships: 11

The No. 7 most valuable team in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals are worth almost exactly as much as the No. 24 most valuable team in the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs.

40. Kansas City Chiefs

Franchise value: $2.1 billion
Total championships: 1

The Andy Reid era has been kind to the Chiefs — at least during the regular season. Kansas City has racked up an impressive string of winning seasons over the past few years, but each time it’s fizzled out fast in the playoffs. To enhance the fan experience, the team has instituted a program that gives fans mobile phone access to all preseason and regular-season home games for just $200.

41. Jacksonville Jaguars

Franchise value: $2.075 billion
Total championships: 0

The Jaguars owner is a force of nature. Self-made immigrant Shahid Khan has revamped the team’s financial structure and taken the Jags international, earning massive revenue from just one game in London. He also heads major development projects in Jacksonville that stand to pump big bucks into both the city and team.

42. New Orleans Saints

Franchise value: $2.075 billion
Total championships: 1

It’s been years since the Saints have given their fans a reason to celebrate once the regular season ends — they haven’t made the playoffs since 2013.

43. Tennessee Titans

Franchise value: $2.05 billion
Total championships: 2 (as the Houston Oilers)

Dating back to 1959 and the founding of the AFL, the Tennessee Titans owner picked up the club for a mere $25,000. The organization has dramatically grown in value over the last several years, enjoying a full 25 percent annualized increase.

44. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Franchise value: $2 billion
Total championships: 1

While the team raised prices more than 20 percent, tickets are still far cheaper than the league average. If fans keep coming back, it might be because the team completed a massive, $168 million stadium renovation that will add 60,000 square feet of lounge space.

45. Cleveland Browns

Franchise value: $1.95 billion
Total championships: 0

The last time the Cleveland Browns won a playoff game was 1994. That kicked off an eight-year postseason drought that lingered until 2002, when a glimmer of hope was quickly extinguished in the opening wild-card round of the playoffs. Recently, the team drastically lowered ticket prices to compensate for low attendance.

46. Los Angeles Angels

Franchise value: $1.9 billion
Total championships: 1

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim play in a crowded market, but one that contributes to more than 45 percent of its value. More than 3 million people have showed up to the stadium every year for 16 years, partially thanks to the club’s low, $30 average non-premium ticket.

 

47. Philadelphia Phillies

Franchise value: $1.85 billion
Total championships: 2

The club remains one of the 10 most valuable in the MLB, however, thanks to a $5 billion, quarter-century TV deal with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

 

48. Cincinnati Bengals

Franchise value: $1.8 billion
Total championships: 0

Across the state from the Browns is another team that wears orange and depends on NFL profit-sharing for more than 70 percent of its revenue — the Cincinnati Bengals. Unlike the Browns, the Bengals have been to the playoffs six times since 2006, but they haven’t won in January since the early 1990s — 1991, to be exact.

49. Detroit Lions

Franchise value: $1.7 billion
Total championships: 0

Between 1957 and 2017, the Detroit Lions won exactly one playoff game, and that was in 1991. They’ve fielded two of the worst five teams of the last three decades and, in 2013, statistical number crunchers crowned the franchise the worst team in all of American sports. Although the Lions are working on major stadium upgrades, currently only the Bills are worth less in the NFL.

50. Washington Nationals

Franchise value: $1.75 billion
Total championships: 0

The Washington Nationals gained 4% year over year in their valuation.

Methodology: Valuations via Forbes.  NBA valuations established August 2019; MLB valuations established August 2019; NFL valuations established August 2019. Rankings do not account for recent sales or expansion teams.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Value of the Top 50 US Sports Franchises, Ranked