For the first time in five years, an NFL franchise is more valuable than the usual soccer juggernauts of Europe. The Dallas Cowboys now lead the world with an overall value of $4 billion despite their championship drought.
Forbes’ annual rankings of the most valuable professional sports franchises are typically dominated by the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United, though Dallas has officially given them a run for their money. The team posted an operating profit of $270 million for the 2014 season — $75 million more than any other NFL team that year, according to Forbes. Club owner Jerry Jones’ $1.2 billion stadium’s seat and sponsorship revenues top the league at $245 million. The Cowboys’ decision to opt out of standard merchandise licensing arrangements frees the team to collaborate with nontraditional clothing brands like Victoria’s Secret and others to reach new markets.
Despite their financial success, the Cowboys have not made a Super Bowl appearance in two decades – furthering the argument that they are still “America’s Team”.
Of the top 50 list, 27 entries are NFL teams. Forbes notes that the league’s ability to ink broadcast deals that cut against American broadcasters’ own interests are a core driver of value growth. NBC and CBS agreed this year to pay $900 million for 10 games each over the next two seasons to broadcast Thursday Night Football. However, these companies agreed to share rights with the NFL Network, which intends to “tri-cast” on Twitter to grab cord-cutting viewers.
Rounding out the top five clubs were Champions League winner Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in second and third place, respectively. The New York Yankees continue to represent Major League Baseball well at $3.4 billion, up six percent from last year. Manchester United finished fifth thanks in part to a new $1.1 billion merchandising deal with Adidas.
The upward trajectory of professional sports team valuations continues to harden the hearts of many against new, billion-dollar stadium development deals largely on public bonds. Breitbart Texas previously reported on the advantages and disadvantages seen when an NFL franchise takes an interest in a new market, San Antonio in particular.
Forbes values all franchises within the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, F1, global soccer and NASCAR. Dollar amounts were based on current stadium deals.
Logan Churchwell is the Assistant Editor and a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. You can follow him on Twitter @LCChurchwell.