As Kobe Bryant throws down a huge dunk or Tom Brady slings a pass deep into the end zone we often aren't thinking of the dollar and cents being generated.
There are huge television deals, merchandise, naming rights, concession sales and more. Sports has become huge business. And these dollars and cents are being generated at a greater and greater rate.
Each year, Forbes.com releases an estimate of franchise values across the four major sports using a multitude of factors including operating income and transaction values.
We decided to look at these valuations to see what we could learn about each sport and the business of sports overall.
Valuation of the Big Four Leagues
Looking at the valuations across all four leagues we find some interesting takeaways.
Firstly, the combined value of all four leagues is $103.735 billion dollars, which if publically traded would make it one of the 100 biggest companies - nearly as valuable as 3M. There is a total of 122 teams across the big four and at the current valuation the average value of franchises is $850.43M.
Nearly half of the $103.735B valuation comes from the NFL where the league is worth a combined $45.69B with the average franchise value being over a billion dollars at $1.428B. The lowest franchise value in the NFL, the St. Louis Rams at $930M, would be the 2nd highest in the NHL, 4th in the NBA and 7th and in the MLB. Apparently, it has paid to be an NFL franchise owner as the league has grown.
Interestingly, Jerry Jones the owner of the Dallas Cowboys (valued at $3.2B) could sell the team and buy the 13 lowest valued NHL teams and still have a $100M left over.
After the NFL, the MLB is next with a value of $24.3B followed by the NBA at $19.0B with the NHL coming in last at $12.4B.
Here is a breakdown of each league:
|League||Total League Value||Average Franchise||Highest Franchise||Lowest Franchise|
|NFL||$45,690,000,000||$1,427,812,500||$3.2B (Cowboys)||$930M (Rams)|
|MLB||$24,327,000,000||$810,900,000||$2.5B (Yankees)||$485M (Rays)|
|NBA||$19,029,000,000||$634,300,000||$1.4B (Knicks)||$405M (Bucks)|
|NHL||$14,707,000,000||$490,233,333||$1.3B (Maple Leafs)||$190M (Panthers)|
Billion Dollar Club
In total, there 36 franchises in the big four sports that are worth more than $1B - 25 in the NFL, 5 in the MLB, 3 in the NBA and 3 in the NHL.
Here is a complete list of the $1B+ franchises: