Two years ago, the Cleveland Browns sold for $997, relatively cheap for NFL franchise standards. In the summer of 2014, the Buffalo Bills struggled to get a bid for over $1 billion, while the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA sold for over $2 billion.
These recent sales figures may indicate a power shift for the most valuable sports league in the world, however, this couldn’t be more far from the truth. The NFL still reigns as king of the professional sports world. Forbes values the average NFL team at $1.43 billion, a 23 percent increase from last year and the highest it has ever been since Forbes started keeping track 17 years ago.
How does this compare to other leagues? The most valuable NHL team is the Toronto Maple Leafs valued at $1.3 billion. The New York Knicks who are the NBA’s most valuable franchise are worth $1.1 billion and only five MLB franchises are part of the $1 billion club.
The NFL is home to the most valuable sports team in North America, the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys who are worth $3.2 billion only trail Spanish soccer club Real Madrid who is worth $3.4 billion. The NFL is by far the most popular show on television and thanks to new broadcasting deals in 2014 with network giants NBC, ESPN, CBS, and Fox, league revenue should increase well over $500 million over a four year span.
These television contracts will help the league reach their goal of $25 billion in annual revenue by 2025 and with fans purchasing Super Bowl tickets at $10,000 a piece, the NFL’s goal definitely is in reach.
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Below is a chart displaying the values of all 32 NFL franchises according to Forbes. Forbes’ team values are “enterprise values (equity plus net debt) calculated using multiples of revenue that reflect each team’s current stadium economics (with adjustments for pending new stadiums and renovations). For teams that own their stadiums, we include the revenue the team gets from the stadium (net of applicable debt payments), but not the market value of the real estate.”