The Dallas Cowboys sit atop Forbes’ list of the world’s most valuable sports franchises for the third straight year, with an eye-popping valuation of $4.8 billion.
Forbes, a popular business magazine, published its list of the Top 50 most valuable sports franchises Wednesday.
Forbes estimates the Cowboys’ value grew 14 percent in the last year, representing one of the largest spikes on the list. Non-NFL events and sponsors at AT&T Stadium – as well as the team’s new world headquarters in Frisco – cause the team’s value to continue skyrocketing, despite a barely-above-.500 regular season record and just three playoff wins since their last Super Bowl in 1995.
Jerry Jones’ club has the highest revenue ($840 million) and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ($350 million) of any sports team in the world.
The Cowboys topped the 2017 list at $4.2 billion – the only franchise in the world to earn a $4 billion-plus price tag. In 2016, they earned the top spot by cracking the $4 billion barrier for the first time.
European soccer teams with a global following take the next three spots on this year’s list: Manchester United ($4.123 billion), Real Madrid ($4.088 billion) and Barcelona ($4.064 billion).
The closest American sports franchise to the Cowboys is the New York Yankees, who fell from No. 2 on last year’s list, with a value of $4 billion on the nose.
A total of 29 NFL teams made the list – the same number as last year – despite the league taking criticism over its handling of player protests during the national anthem and its attitude toward concussions, as well as a dip in TV ratings.
However, as Forbes puts it, the NFL’s TV viewership is still “the envy of every other sports TV property.”
“Broadcast networks pay through the nose to secure rights to NFL games in a world of eroding live TV viewership,” Forbes notes. “NFL clubs split $8.2 billion, or $255 million per team, last season from shared revenue streams, with national TV deals producing the bulk of the money.”
The business site also cited a $650 million-per-year Thursday Night Football deal and Pizza Hut supplanting Papa John’s as the league’s pizza sponsor at a higher valuation as cause for the NFL’s staying power in the Top 50 list.
Seven soccer teams, six MLB teams and eight NBA teams round out the top 50. The NFL’s Cleveland Browns take the 50th spot on the list with a $1.95 billion valuation.