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A Look At Franchise Values Across the NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA

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, 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) 
Combined  $103,753,000,000  $850,434,426              

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:

Team Valuation ($B) League
Dallas Cowboys 3,200 NFL
New England Patriots 2,600 NFL
New York Yankees 2,500 MLB
Washington Redskins 2,400 NFL
New York Giants 2,100 NFL
Los Angeles Dodgers 2,000 MLB
Houston Texans 1,850 NFL
New York Jets 1,800 NFL
Philadelphia Eagles 1,750 NFL
Chicago Bears 1,700 NFL
San Francisco 49ers 1,600 NFL
Boston Red Sox 1,500 MLB
Baltimore Ravens 1,500 NFL
Denver Broncos 1,450 NFL
New York Knicks 1,400 NBA
Indianapolis Colts 1,400 NFL
Green Bay Packers 1,375 NFL
Los Angeles Lakers 1,350 NBA
Pittsburgh Steelers 1,350 NFL
Seattle Seahawks 1,330 NFL
Miami Dolphins 1,300 NFL
Toronto Maple Leafs 1,300 NHL
Carolina Panthers 1,250 NFL
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1,225 NFL
Chicago Cubs 1,200 MLB
Tennessee Titans 1,160 NFL
Minnesota Vikings 1,150 NFL
Atlanta Falcons 1,125 NFL
Cleveland Browns 1,120 NFL
New Orleans Saints 1,110 NFL
Kansas City Chiefs 1,100 NFL
New York Rangers 1,300 NHL
San Francisco Giants 1,000 MLB
Chicago Bulls 1,000 NBA
Arizona Cardinals 1,000 NFL
Montreal Canadiens 1,000 NHL

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