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What are the most valuable franchises in NFL?

With rising ticket prices, media deals in the stratosphere and player contracts to match, we have a look at who gets the lion's share of the money

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - NOVEMBER 25: Las Vegas Raiders Owner Mark Davis, Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones and CEO of Dallas Cowboys Stephen Jones talk ahead of the NFL match between Las Vegas Raiders and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on November 25, 2021
Tim NwachukwuAFP

Big league sports means big league money, in any language. European soccer clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona are each worth $4.7 billion. But the top of the table is represented by the big three of American sports, with The Knicks at $5 billion and the Yankees at $5.25 billion. But sitting as the cash kings are the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys with a value of $6.5 billion, making them the most valuable sports team in any sport in the world.

Despite the 25 year Super Bowl drought, Jerry Jones has basically been printing money since he bought the franchise in 1989 for $140 million. According to Forbes, the Cowboys generate $800 million in revenue per year. The NFL has seen each team increase in value by 14% over the past year, and have signed a new media deal last March worth $112.6 billion. But the biggest one-year increase in value belongs to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are up 29% and whose brand has been reborn with last season’s Super Bowl run. There has been a surge in season-ticket and merchandise sales since the arrival of Tom Brady in March 2020 and pushed through significant ticket-price increases for the 2021 season.

The next most valuable team in the NFL is the New England Patriots, with a value of $5 billion they clock in at one and a half billion dollars less than Dallas and only $150 million above the number three team, the New York Giants.

Large market teams in Los Angeles and Chicago do well no matter their season performance or age. Houston is the fourth largest city in the US and the Texans just miss the top ten in with a value of $3.7 billion. From there, the difference in team values tend to be in the millions rather than the billions, all the way to the bottom of the NFL value list, currently the Buffalo Bills at $2.27 billion.

The top ten NFL franchises by value

  • Dallas Cowboys ($6.5 billion)
  • New England Patriots ($5 billion)
  • New York Giants ($4.85 billion)
  • Los Angeles Rams (4.8 billion)
  • Washington Football Team ($4.2 billion)
  • San Francisco 49ers ($4.175 billion)
  • Chicago Bears ($4.075 billion)
  • New York Jets ($4.05 billion)
  • Philadelphia Eagles ($3.8 billion)
  • Denver Broncos ($3.75 billion)

The days of former players and coaches taking on team ownership, as was the case for Paul Brown and George Halas, or car dealership owners getting rich enough to buy a team, like Tom Benson, or any number of other rags to riches stories shared out among the league would seem to be over. It is almost impossible to sell enough cars or build enough houses or open enough gas stations (all the valid routes taken by current owners on their way to buying their franchise) to be able to buy into a league so awash with money. Tomorrow’s owners are more likely to be one-dimensional and bland; lawyers, stock market brokers, and corporate conglomerates. The shakeup of the league with the arrival of Jerry Jones and his cowboy boots may just be something we’ll never see again.


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