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The most valuable sports teams in the world revealed

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Forbes released today its annual list of The World’s 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams. The Dallas Cowboys, valued at $4.2 billion, remain the most valuable sports franchise in the world for the second consecutive year.  The New York Yankees are the world’s second most valuable team, up from No. 4 last year, worth $3.7 billion and 9% higher than in 2016. The Yankees have the highest sponsorship revenue ($120 million) and premium seating revenue ($130 million) in baseball. A trio of soccer clubs round out the top five, with Manchester United valued at $3.69 billion, in at No. 3, Barcelona valued at $3.64 billion as No. 4 and Real Madrid valued at $3.58 billion as No. 5. The average current value of the top most valuable teams is $2.5 billion, the highest to date, which is an increase over last year when the average value was $2.2 billion. 

The top 50 is comprised of 51 teams this year thanks to a tie at the bottom of the New Orleans Saints with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, both worth $1.75 million. The cutoff is up 18 per cent from $1.48 million last year. Overall, there are 87 sports franchises worldwide worth at least $1 billion. The cost of admission to the 2017 list is also the highest ever at $1.75 billion, up 18% from $1.48 billion a year ago. The Rams were the biggest gainer, moving from outside the top 50 to No. 12 and worth $2.9 billion. The value of the franchise doubled with the team’s relocation from St. Louis to Los Angeles last year.

“Relocations and new stadiums are fueling big increases in the value of NFL teams, with the Cowboys the economic model every franchise hopes to match,” said Kurt Badenhausen, Senior Editor, Forbes Media. “Jerry Jones turned a money-losing franchise into the most profitable sports franchise in the world as AT&T Stadium generates the highest sponsorship and premium seating revenue in the sport.”

The National Football League is the most powerful sports league in the world, with lucrative broadcast contracts that are not comparable to any other league. The NFL accounts for more than half of the list, occupying 29 spots in the ranking. Major League Baseball has eight teams, and the National Basketball Association and European soccer, each has seven teams on the list. No hockey, Formula 1 or Nascar teams made the cut. 

Methodology: This list is based on Forbes’ valuations done in the past year for the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, F1, soccer, and Nascar. Forbes’ team values are enterprise values (equity plus debt) based on current stadium deals (unless a new stadium is pending).

The World’s Top 10 Most Valuable Sports Teams

2017
Rank
Team Owner Current Value 
($bil)
2016 Rank Sport
1 Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones $4.20 1 NFL
2 New York Yankees Steinbrenner Family $3.70 4 MLB
3 Manchester United Glazer family $3.69 5 Soccer
4 Barcelona Club members $3.64 3 Soccer
5 Real Madrid Club members $3.58 2 Soccer
6 New England Patriots Robert Kraft $3.40 6 NFL
7 New York Knicks Madison Square Garden Company $3.30 7 NBA
8 New York Giants John Mara, Steven Tisch $3.10 9 NFL
9 San Francisco 49ers Denise DeBartolo York, John York $3.00 10 NFL
9 Los Angeles Lakers Jerry Buss Family Trusts, Philip Anschutz $3.00 10 NBA


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