• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

Ranking the World’s Five Most Valuable Sports Teams

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Whether you are a diehard fan or have zero interest in sports, it is impossible to deny that the professional sports industry is booming. Record attendances, merchandise sales, broadcasting rights changing hands for unfathomable sums, and lucrative corporate sponsorships have seen the valuation of some of the world’s most famous sports teams explode.

 

The world’s 50 most valuable sports teams are worth $256 billion combined, or an average of $5.12 billion. That astronomical sum is approximately 15% more than last year and is set to continue increasing. As one may expect, North American sports dominate the current rankings. The National Football League (NFL), popular with Michigan gambling sites, accounts for 60% of the world’s most valuable sports teams; the NFL remains the most valuable league globally.

 

Surprisingly, none of the top 50 play in the National Hockey League (NHL) or the ever-popular Indian Premier League (IPL), cricket’s richest competition. This is because teams must have a $3.7 billion valuation to be ranked in the top 50. The NHL’s New York Rangers are worth $2.2 billion, while the Mumbai Indians are way down the list with a $1.3 billion valuation.

 

So, which are the five most valuable sports teams globally?

 

Dallas Cowboys – $9.2 billion

 

The Dallas Cowboys are historically one of the NFL’s most successful teams. They have reached eight Super Bowls, won five, and are the only NFL franchise to record 20 consecutive winning seasons (from 1966 to 1985). Although the Cowboys have yet to navigate their way to the Super Bowl since winning it in 1995, their early successes have resulted in the team enjoying a massive fanbase and the ability to command huge sponsorship deals.

 

In 2015, the Cowboys became the first sports team valued at $4 billion. In 2018, they became the first team Forbes valued at $5 billion. Now, it is likely that the Cowboys will become the first $10 billion sports team on the planet.

 

Jerry Jones purchased the Cowboys for $150 million in 1989, marking an incredible Return On Investment (ROI) for the American businessman. Jones has been instrumental in negotiating lucrative sponsorships for his Cowboys and the entire NFL. Today, the Cowboys generate $1.1 billion in revenue and enjoy over half a billion dollars of operating income.

 

New York Yankees – $7.1 billion

The New York Yankees are among the most famous teams worldwide thanks to their continued success and storied history. The Steinbrenner Family purchased the Yankees for $8.8 million in 1973, with the franchise now worth a staggering $7.1 billion.

 

The Yankees have won more titles than any other franchise in North America’s four major leagues, and the team’s logo has become an internationally known fashion item. A lack of debt combined with annual gate receipts of $284 million have contributed to the Yankees’ financial success.

 

The Yankees’ sky-high valuation is also due to the world-famous Yankee Stadium and the team’s ability to attract corporate sponsors. The Yankees signed a jersey patch deal with Starr Insurance worth $25 million per season and up to $200 million overall.

 

Golden State Warriors – $7 billion

 

The Golden State Warriors are the NBA’s most valuable team, worth an estimated $7 billion. That gargantuan figure was confirmed in September 2023 when a group of the Warriors’ minority owners sought to sell a 10% stake in the franchise for $700 million.

 

NBA fans know all too well about the Warriors’ meteoric rise. Between 2015 and 2022, the Warriors won six conference titles, five divisional titles, and the NBA Championship four times. Success on the basketball court breeds success on a team’s balance sheet, reflected in the Warriors pulling in $765 million in annual revenue and making approximately $80 million in operating income.

 

New England Patriots – $7 billion

 

When Robert Kraft spent $172 million acquiring the New England Patriots in 1994, even he would not have dreamed that he would help turn them into a franchise worth $7 billion and rising. The Patriots have featured in 11 Super Bowls, winning six, with all but one happening during Kraft’s reign.

 

Kraft and his management team have developed a business model that enables the Patriots to remain highly profitable. For example, in 2023, the Patriots brought in $684 million of revenue and retained $206 million as operating profit, one of the largest margins in the NFL. Indeed, only the Dallas Cowboys had more operating income than the Patriots.

 

Although the Patriots’ recent form is not a shadow on the team domination of the 2000s and 2010s, the team boasts a vast and loyal fanbase who continue supporting the team through ticket and merchandise sales.

 

Los Angeles Rams – $6.9 billion

 

Stan Kroenke knows a thing or two about the sports industry. When he purchased the then-St. Louis Rams for $750 million in 2010, he knew that relocating the team back to Los Angeles would do wonders for the franchise’s valuation. Kroenke’s prediction was correct because the Ram’s valuation went from $1.45 billion in 2015 to $2.9 billion in 2016 following the team’s move.

 

By 2021, the Rams were valued at $4.8 billion and had a $6.9 billion valuation at the end of 2023. The Rams are saddled with significant debt, but that debt is serviceable. Most of it stems from the development and building of the SoFi Stadium, which cost $5.5 billion, making it the world’s most expensive stadium. Thanks to the Rams sharing the stadium with the Los Angeles Chargers and renting it out for sporting events, including the 2028 Summer Olympics, and for music concerts, it should not take long for the Rams to pay off the stadium’s costs and start reaping the financial rewards of having a state-of-the-art venue.