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Dallas Cowboys Lead Forbes List of the League’s Most Valuable NFL Franchises

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WARNER TODD HUSTON

The Dallas Cowboys once again came out on top of the annual Forbes list of most valuable NFL franchises, Monday.

The Cowboys came out on top at a valuation of $4.8 billion up from $2 billion from five years ago, according to Forbes. In fact, all the teams saw a rise in valuation except for the New York Jets which stayed static at $2.75 billion over last year’s valuation.

“TV ratings declined 8% last season and dropped again during the NFL’s opening weekend,” Forbes wrote. The league’s image is taking a hit from the long-term health problems of players, and some fans are getting turned off by the gladiatorial nature of the sport. Yet for all the bad press surrounding the NFL, the league remains a financial juggernaut.”

The report notes that the average team is worth $2.5 billion, up 8 percent over last year’s valuations, with 27 of the league’s 32 teams now worth at least $2 billion each. The least valued team is the Buffalo Bills ranking in at $1.6 billion.

Where does the bulk of that value come from? Forbes says it is the leagues’ lucrative TV contracts: “NFL owners are minting money thanks to hefty TV contracts and a favorable labor deal with the players. Operating profits (earnings, before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) were a record $101 million per team last season, with every team north of $40 million. The $3.2 billion in league-wide income is $500 million more than the combined earnings of teams in the NBA, NHL and MLB.”

Along with the Cowboys, the top five also includes the The New England Patriots ($3.7 billion), the New York Giants ($3.3 billion), the Washington Redskins ($3.1 billion) and the San Francisco 49ers ($3 billion).

With the Bills figuring in as the least valuable team, the rest of the bottom five include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($1.975 billion), the Cleveland Browns ($1.95 billion), the Cincinnati Bengals ($1.8 billion), and the Detroit Lions ($1.7 billion).

However, with TV ratings cratering and advertisers sometimes asking for refunds on exorbitant advertising fees because fewer fans are watching, these valuations may not be holding for too long.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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