Thursday, July 19, 2012

Forbes Magazine Ranks Most Valuable Sports Teams: Patriots Ranked 6th, Red Sox 23rd

Every year Forbes ranks the top 50 sports teams around the world based on their value as a business. And although the top two teams are European soccer clubs (Manchester United of England and Real Madrid of Spain), the list is dominated by the NFL. All 32 teams are in the top 50, due mostly to the League's colossal TV contracts.

Here's the full article on Forbes' site. The list is very interesting, although it noticeably and inexplicably omitted Ted DiBiase's Money Inc.

Top teams Man United (valued at $2.23 billion), and Real Madrid ($1.88 billion) have global followings and companies pay top dollar/pound/Euro to sponsor them.

The New York Yankees ($1.85 billion) were ranked 3rd. The Yankees have a lucrative regional sports network (YES) and massive revenue from tickets and luxury boxes. The Yankees generate $330 million in ticket revenue, far and away the most in the Majors. The Red Sox are second with $190 million.

The Dallas Cowboys tied with the Yankees for 3rd. Their new stadium apparently includes a money-printing machine.

The Washington Redskins were 5th, valued at $1.56 billion.

The Patriots were 6th, worth $1.4 billion. That's thanks in part to owning their own stadium, selling out every game, and having some of the highest ticket prices in the NFL.

The LA Dodgers tied with the Patriots at 6th. Spanish soccer team Barcelona was 7th worth $1.31 billion. The New York Giants were 9th at $1.3 billion. London-based soccer club Arsenal FC were 10th at $1.29 billion. Here's the rest of the list:

11. Bayern Munich (German soccer team) - $1.23 billion
11. New York Jets - $1.23 billion
13. Houston Texans - $1.2 billion
14. Philadelphia Eagles - $1.16 billion
15. Ferrari (Formula 1 racing team) - $1.1 billion

Maybe Fenway Sports Group invested in the wrong kind of racing. Formula 1's global appeal attracts massive sponsorship money.

16. Chicago Bears - $1.09 billion
16. Green Bay Packers - $1.09 billion
16. Baltimore Ravens - $1.09 billion
19. Indianapolis Colts - $1.06 billion
20. Denver Broncos - $1.05 billion
21. Pittsburgh Steelers - $1.02 billion
22. Miami Dolphins - $1.01 billion
23. Carolina Panthers - $1 billion
23. Boston Red Sox - $1 billion

The Red Sox are the 3rd ranked baseball team on the list, which is nothing to be ashamed of. The two ahead of them (Yankees and Dodgers) play in the two largest media markets in the country. The Red Sox are in the #6 market in the US, have a small ballpark, and are still worth $1 billion. They're worth more than half the teams in the NFL, which is saying something.

The Sox make their money from high ticket prices, technically selling out every game, and from their 80% stake in NESN. Even when Fenway Park isn't filled to capacity, people still leave a lot of cash there.

25. Seattle Seahawks - $997 million
26. San Francisco 49ers - $990 million
27. AC Milan (Italian soccer team) - $989 million

AC Milan will be playing an exhibition game at Gillette Stadium on August 4th. So the 27th most valuable sports team in the world will be guests of the 6th most valuable team.

28. Kansas City Chiefs - $986 million
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - $981 million
30. Cleveland Browns - $977 million
31. New Orleans Saints - $965 million
32. Tennessee Titans - $964 million
33. San Diego Chargers - $920 million
34. Arizona Cardinals - $901 million
35. LA Lakers - $900 million
36. Chicago Cubs - $879 million

Proof that winning doesn't necessarily mean profits. Perhaps the Red Sox are learning too much from the Wrigley-model. The Cubs are far and away the most popular team in Chicago, even though the White Sox are much more successful on the field.

37. Cincinnati Bengals - $875 million
38. Detroit Lions - $844 million
39. Atlanta Falcons - $814 million
40. McLaren (Formula 1 racing team) - $800 million
41. Minnesota Vikings - $796 million
42. Buffalo Bills - $792 million
43. New York Knicks - $780 million
44. St. Louis Rams - $775 million
45. Oakland Raiders - $761 million
45. Chelsea FC (English soccer team) - $761 million
47. Jacksonville Jaguars - $725 million

The least valuable team in the NFL is worth more than 26 MLB teams, 28 NBA teams, and all 30 NHL teams.

48. Philadelphia Phillies - $723 million
49. New York Mets - $719 million
50. Texas Rangers - $674 million

It's amazing how valuable NFL franchises are. Even in very small markets like Jacksonville and Buffalo, teams are worth more than MLB teams in Philadelphia, New York, and Dallas-Fort Worth.

At the same time, the Cowboys are worth more than twice as much as 10 other NFL teams.

Market-size seems to dictate value in the 3 non-NFL leagues. But even in the NFL, market-size, history, and success separate the ultra-wealthy teams like Dallas, Washington, New England the Giants; from the just-rich teams like Buffalo, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, and Minnesota.

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