Sports are becoming more popular than ever, and the owners of the franchises that provide the world with endless entertainment are the ones that are benefitting the most. Ever since the Los Angeles Dodgers were purchased for $2.15 billion in 2011 and the Los Angeles Clippers were purchased for $2 billion in 2014, the estimated value for every popular sports franchise has seemingly skyrocketed. There are many reasons why a franchise would increase in value, including, but not limited to, television, uniform, and sponsorship deals. In order to make Forbes’ “50 Most Valuable Sports Teams” list for 2017, each franchise needed to be worth at least $1.75 billion, which is up 18% from 2016. Last year, the Jacksonville Jaguars held the final spot at $1.5 billion. This year, the final spot is held by the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
In terms of sports leagues, the NFL remains the most valuable. In Forbes’ most valuable sports franchise list for 2017, there are 29 NFL teams, 8 MLB teams, 7 NBA teams, and 7 international soccer teams. Due to a tie at 50, there are actually 51 franchises on the list. Here are the top five franchises.
No. 1: Dallas Cowboys, NFL ($4.2 billion)
After the new television deal was finalized for the NFL before last season, the Dallas Cowboys leap-frogged the international soccer clubs to the top spot on the list. It marked the first time since Forbes started the list in 2010 that a non-soccer team has been dubbed the most valuable sports franchise in the world. Since then, the Cowboys have only become more valuable, as they remain atop the list for 2017.
No. 2: New York Yankees, MLB ($3.7 billion)
The Yankees jumped from number four to the second spot on the list in 2017, which marks the first time that a soccer club was shut out of the top two slots. It certainly helps that the team is back in playoff contention and has found a star in Aaron Judge to help numb the pain that is Derek Jeter’s retirement.
No. 3: Manchester United, Soccer ($3.69 billion)
Obviously, soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and Manchester United has been one of the most popular clubs in the world for a long time. Despite slumping on the pitch the last few years, the team is valued higher than ever.
No. 4: Barcelona, Soccer ($3.64 billion)
Lionel Messi is still an elite athlete and arguably the best soccer player in the world, and maybe all-time. On-field success, new kit deals, and relentless marketing of the best players in the world kept Barca in the top five at number four in 2017.
No. 5: Real Madrid ($3.58 billion)
Surprisingly, Real Madrid was the only team in the top 10 that actually decreased in value. Real Madrid still has one of the top two players in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo, who happens to be the highest paid athlete in the world. As long as he keeps the spotlight on this team, they will continue to make boatloads of money. Not to mention, they currently hold the crown as the best team in Europe after winning the Champions League this past season.
Rounding out the top 10: New England Patriots, NFL ($3.4 billion); New York Knicks, NBA ($3.3 billion); New York Giants, NFL ($3.1 billion); San Francisco 49ers, NFL ($3 billion); Los Angeles Lakers, NBA ($3 billion)