By Haddon Libby
Forbes recently ranked the most valuable sports teams in the world. The top 50 teams have seen values increase by 78% over the last five years to a collective value of $223 billion!
The NFL has the lion’s share of the most highly valued teams with all but two of their teams in the top 50. Broadcast network fees have helped line coffers and increase team values. The NFL recently renewed all broadcast rights with ten-year contracts worth $113 billion in total. One of the least valuable broadcast packages was Thursday Night Football yet this sold for $1 billion annually by Amazon. Fox and CBS each pay $2.7 billion annually for NFC and AFC rights. NBC pays $2 billion per year to broadcast Sunday Night Football while ESPN/ABC/Disney pay $2.7 billion for Monday Night Football rights.
Another factor in higher valuations is legalized sports betting. While not legal in California, the NFL earns $2.3 billion according to American Gaming Association research.
The Jerry Jones owned Dallas Cowboys top the list with an estimated value of $8 billion. Jones bought the team back in 1989 for $150 million.
Robert Kraft’s New England Patriots are second at $6.4 billion. Kraft paid $172 million for the Patriots in 1994.
Stan Kroenke’s Los Angeles Rams come in third with a valuation of $6.2 billion. Kroenke bought the St. Louis-based team back in 2010 at what many thought was an absurdly high price of $750.
While George Steinbrenner may be gone, his family continues to run the New York Yankees. With a value of $6 billion, the Yankees are the most valuable team in baseball. Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 for only $8.8 million.
Tied for fourth is the New York Giants. The Mara family were part of the founding teams of the NFL back in 1925. The Mara’s paid $500 for the club which is now valued at $6 billion.
The most valuable basketball team ranks sixth amongst all sports teams. Valued at $5.8 billion, the New York Knicks were purchased in 1997 by James Dolan and Madison Square Garden Sports.
Tied for sixth are Da’ Bears – the Chicago Bears. Like the Mara family, the McCaskey family are one of the founding families of the NFL. The team which was purchased for $100 in 1920 is worth $5.8 billion today.
Amazon recently paid $1 billion annually for the rights to Thursday Night Football, one of the least valuable of the NFL broadcast packages.
Tied for eighth at $5.6 billion each are the Golden State Warriors and the Washington Commanders. Peter Guber and Joe Lacob bought the Warriors in 2010 for $450 million. The embattled Daniel Snyder paid $750 million in 1999 for the then named Washington Redskins.
Rounding out the top ten are the Los Angeles Lakers at $5.5 billion. Dr. Jerry Buss bought the team back in 1979 for $20 billion. His daughter now runs the team.
To show the disparity in value between football and baseball, the Denver Broncos sold last year for $4.65 billion to Rob Walton, the eldest son of Sam Walton. For comparison, the New York Mets are in one of baseball’s most lucrative markets yet sold for ‘only’ $2.4 billion 2020 to hedge fund manager Steve Cohen in 2020.
After the NFL, NBA and MLB, the other form of football comes in fourth. Known as soccer stateside, the English Premier League has four teams worth $16.5 billion in the top 50. Fifth goes another soccer league, Spanish La Liga with two teams collectively worth $10 billion.
While no teams from the National Hockey League was on the list, the New York Rangers are estimated to be worth the most at $2 billion. Major League Soccer’s most valuable team is Los Angeles FC that is valued at $860 million.
Haddon Libby in the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Winslow Drake Investment Management. For more information, please visit www.WinslowDrake.com.