NFL owners will meet in Minnesota next week to vote on adding a new member to their exclusive club. In June, Walmart heir Rob Walton agreed to pay $4.65 billion for the Denver Broncos, and the approval is a mere formality in a deal that sets new standards for team values.
NFL average and the Cowboys as a benchmark
The average NFL franchise is worth just over $4.1 billion, up 18% year over year. Collectively, NFL franchises, including team-related businesses and owner-owned real estate, are worth $132 billion.
The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable franchise in the world regardless of sport at $7.64 billion. That’s $630 million more than the Yankees. There are 16 NFL franchises worth at least $4 billion versus seven franchises in the other US sports leagues (four MLB, three NBA).
There is no one that compares to the NFL in terms of sports or entertainment. The divide is most evident on television, where the NFL accounted for 75 of the top 100 shows of 2021, including 90% of the top 40. According to Nielsen, ratings increased by 9% last year, while overall regular TV viewership fell by 10%.
The NFL beat revenue expectations in 2021, both locally and nationally. Fans returned to stadiums in droves after a season that saw near-zero attendance due to COVID-19 protocols as sponsors threw money around, with revenue from partnerships with the league falling by 23%, according to the IEG rose. The 32 teams generated $17.4 billion in cumulative revenue, with 64% from evenly shared revenue. NFL revenue in 2021 is nearly double that of its closest competitor, the NBA.
The Jones family has been pushing boundaries in the NFL since patriarch Jerry bought the team for $150 million in 1989. The Cowboys revolutionized the way NFL teams conducted their local businesses. “America’s Team” started the sponsorship wave in the 1990s, took control of the merch business, launched Legends, built AT&T Stadium and opened its $1.5 billion training facility and mixed-use project, The Star.
And when the NFL opened up the cryptocurrency category for sponsorship in March, the Cowboys were first in line. Three weeks later, the team announced an agreement with Luxembourg-based Blockchain.com.
The Rams had a stellar year both on and off the field, which saw their value surge 26% and put them ahead of the Patriots for the first time. The Rams and owner E. Stanley Kroenke have taken the idea of using a team as the center of a larger business even further by developing 300 acres surrounding SoFi Stadium into the mixed-use Hollywood Park.
The Las Vegas Raiders ($4.08bn) matched the Rams’ gain of 26%. As with the Rams, fans weren’t able to attend games at Allegiant Stadium in the first season, but demand has been huge for the 2021 season. The Silver and Black led the league in ticket sales with $119 million. The Raiders are 15th overall.
Mile High is also the purchase price
The sales of the Broncos this year showed that the NFL is the richest sports league in the world. The new deal was 47% above the $3.16 billion price that Chelsea achieved this spring. The previous record price for a sports team was $3.3 billion for the sale of the Brooklyn Nets in 2019.
The Broncos sold for about nine times 2021 earnings, compared to six times what David Tepper paid for the Carolina Panthers in 2018. The Broncos are forecast to earn $540 million in 2022. The Broncos rank #10 in Sportico’s NFL valuations at $4.65 billion.
|1||Dallas Cowboys||$7.64 billion|
|2||Los Angeles Rams||$5.91 billion|
|3||New England Patriots||$5.88 billion|
|4||New York Giants||$5.73 billion|
|5||San Francisco 49ers||$5.18 billion|
|6||Chicago Bears||$5 billion|
|7||New York Jets||$4.8 billion|
|8||Washington Commanders||$4.78 billion|
|9||Philadelphia Eagles||$4.7 billion|
|10||Denver Broncos||$4.65 billion|
|11||Houston Texans||$4.63 billion|
|12||Seattle Seahawks||$4.39 billion|
|13||Pittsburgh Steelers||$4.26 billion|
|14||Green Bay Packers||$4.19 billion|
|15||Las Vegas Raiders||$4.08 billion|
|16||Miami Dolphins||$4.06 billion|
|17||Atlanta Falcons||$3.88 billion|
|18||Minnesota Vikings||$3.72 billion|
|19||Los Angeles Chargers||$3.62 billion|
|20||Kansas City Chiefs||$3.54 billion|
|21||Baltimore Ravens||$3.44 billion|
|22||Carolina Panthers||$3.36 billion|
|23||Tennessee Titans||$3.29 billion|
|24||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||$3.28 billion|
|25||New Orleans Saints||$3.26 billion|
|26||Indianapolis Colts||$3.25 billion|
|27||Cleveland Browns||$3.18 billion|
|28||Arizona Cardinals||$3.17 billion|
|29||Buffalo Bills||$2.99 billion|
|30||Jacksonville Jaguars||$2.94 billion|
|31||Detroit Lions||$2.86 billion|
|32||Cincinnati Bengals||$2.84 billion|
*Team values are based on calculations by Sportico and include the team and all of the teams’ businesses and properties.