How ’bout them Cowboys?
Forbes released its annual valuation of all 32 NFL franchises. While Jerry Jones’s team remains mired in mediocrity on the field, it plays as the envy of the NFL off of the field. The magazine estimates the franchise’s value at $3.2 billion. That’s $600 million more than the runner-up New England Patriots and just $200 million less than Real Madrid, the most valuable sports outfit on the planet according to Forbes.
For the eighth consecutive year the Dallas Cowboys…are the league’s most valuable team…. Despite making only three postseason appearances over past decade, the Cowboys posted the NFL’s highest revenue ($560 million) and operating income ($246 million) in 2013. The Cowboys are a marketing juggernaut that is launching two new deals this season that will align the blue star with global luxury watch and cruise line brands, two categories NFL teams have previously ignored or have been unable to tap. The Cowboys’ deals with Hublot and Carnival will pay the team in the low seven figures combined annually over five years.
By way of comparison, Forbes, in an all-sports list released last month, valued the New York Yankees at $2.5 billion, the New York Knicks at $1.4 billion (despite the $2 billion offer for the Clippers), and the Toronto Maple Leafs at $1.15 billion (despite selling for more than that two years ago). Put another way, the combined value of the top hockey and basketball franchises adds up to $700 million less than the Cowboys (whose value last month’s list pegged at $2.3 billion).
Eight teams, a quarter of the league, might be bought for a billion dollars or less, according to Forbes. The Rams ($930M), Bills ($935M), Lions ($960M), Jaguars ($965M), Raiders ($970M), Bengals ($990M), Chargers ($995M), and Cardinals ($1 billion) rank as the lowest-worth franchises in the league. Given that home markets, rather than win-loss records, play a greater role in determining a team’s pricetag, several of these teams–particularly St. Louis and Oakland–with stadium leases expiring may look to Los Angeles for a new home (same as their old home) that will provide a higher value for the franchises.
Cash buys rings everywhere but the NFL. The league’s Money Division–Cowboys, Patriots, Redskins, Giants–combined for a 30-34 record last season. And the Super Bowl champions? Forbes estimates the worth of the Seattle Seahawks at $1.33 billion, good for a middling 15th place.