Football is king.
The axiom proves true in the legal sports betting industry, which generated roughly $10 billion nationwide between June 2018 and July 2019. In New Jersey–the standard in this new world of state-sanctioned wagering–operators have taken in $3.7 billion in bets over the past 14 months.
Betting on NFL football accounts for 17% of wagers placed. That figure might pale in comparison to other categories, but consider that football takes up about five months of the year as opposed to most other sports that span between seven and nine months.
But football is king off the field. And Forbes can prove it.
The Dallas Cowboys topped the publication’s list of most valuable sports teams in the world recently. America’s team accomplished such feat for the fourth straight year. Valued at $5.5 billion, Dallas is only the spearhead of NFL wealth, which will only continue to grow.
NFL values trending upward
The league boasts three franchises in Forbes‘ top 10, including the New England Patriots at No. 7 and the New York Giants at No. 10. Of the NFL’s 32 teams, 26 of them rank in the top 50. No other league worldwide as more than nine teams listed.
Looking at the NFL alone, the Cowboys franchise stands as the league’s most valuable team for the 13th straight year. Dallas and New England both exceeded $4 billion in value, two of eight franchises with an estimated worth of over $3 billion.
For perspective, Dallas’ value in 2014 was just $2.3 billion.
|Dallas Cowboys||$5.5 billion|
|New England Patriots||$4.1 billion|
|New York Giants||$3.9 billion|
|Los Angeles Rams||$3.8 billion|
|San Francisco 49ers||$3.5 billion|
|Chicago Bears||$3.45 billion|
|Washington Redskins||$3.4 billion|
|New York Jets||$3.2 billion|
|Houston Texans||$3.1 billion|
|Philadelphia Eagles||$3.05 billion|
|Denver Broncos||$3 billion|
|Oakland Raiders||$2.9 billion|
|Green Bay Packers||$2.85 billion|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||$2.8 billion|
|Seattle Seahawks||$2.78 billion|
|Miami Dolphins||$2.76 billion|
|Atlanta Falcons||$2.76 billion|
|Baltimore Ravens||$2.75 billion|
|Minnesota Vikings||$2.7 billion|
|Indianapolis Colts||$2.65 billion|
|Los Angeles Chargers||$2.5 billion|
|Carolina Panthers||$2.4 billion|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||$2.33 billion|
|Kansas City Chiefs||$2.3 billion|
|New Orleans Saints||$2.28 billion|
|Arizona Cardinals||$2.25 billion|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||$2.2 billion|
|Cleveland Browns||$2.18 billion|
|Tennessee Titans||$2.15 billion|
|Cincinnati Bengals||$2 billion|
|Detroit Lions||$1.95 billion|
|Buffalo Bills||$1.9 billion|
NFL franchise price tags jumping quickly
Across the league, year-over-year values didn’t just jump, they skyrocketed.
Every franchise saw its value rise since 2018, including 22 teams that jumped by at least 10%.
At the top of the list, the Oakland Raiders saw a 20% spike in value. It makes sense, considering the team’s pending move to Las Vegas into a stadium that is nearing $2 billion.
Three franchises had values increase by 19%, including the Los Angeles Rams. Now seen as perennial contenders, the Rams will soon lay roots inside a nearly $5 billion venue that will also have the Los Angeles Chargers as a tenant.
|Los Angeles Rams||19%|
|New York Giants||18%|
|San Francisco 49ers||15%|
|New York Jets||12%|
|Los Angeles Chargers||10%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||10%|
|New Orleans Saints||10%|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10%|
|Green Bay Packers||9%|
|New England Patriots||8%|
Team revenue is also climbing in the NFL
What good is a business without a profit?
Somehow, the NFL’s popularity continues to swell. As a result, so do revenue totals. During the 2017 season, the 10 highest-valued franchises in the league averaged $461.5 million in revenue. A year later, that total ballooned to $536.2 million.
Shouldering the load, the Cowboys enjoyed $950 million in revenue, the most of any US sports team.
|Dallas Cowboys||$950 million|
|New England Patriots||$600 million|
|New York Giants||$519 million|
|Houston Texans||$497 million|
|Washington Redskins||$493 million|
|San Francisco 49ers||$492 million|
|Philadelphia Eagles||$482 million|
|New York Jets||$475 million|
|Atlanta Falcons||$458 million|
|Green Bay Packers||$456 million|
|Chicago Bears||$453 million|
|Denver Broncos||$446 million|
|Miami Dolphins||$443 million|
|New Orleans Saints||$441 million|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||$439 million|
|Seattle Seahawks||$439 million|
|Baltimore Ravens||$438 million|
|Minnesota Vikings||$427 million|
|Carolina Panthers||$424 million|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||$424 million|
|Kansas City Chiefs||$410 million|
|Los Angeles Rams||$401 million|
|Arizona Cardinals||$400 million|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||$400 million|
|Cleveland Browns||$399 million|
|Tennessee Titans||$394 million|
|Indianapolis Colts||$393 million|
|Buffalo Bills||$386 million|
|Detroit Lions||$385 million|
|Cincinnati Bengals||$380 million|
|Los Angeles Chargers||$375 million|
|Oakland Raiders||$357 million|
NFL values will continue to increase
This trend of increasing value should certainly continue.
As Forbes noted, the Chicago Bears received an offer for $4 billion, while the Indianapolis Colts received interest to the tune of $3.2 billion. This comes after the Carolina Panthers sold for $2.3 billion last year, and only a few years after the Buffalo Bills (in 2014) and Cleveland Browns (2012) went for $1.4 billion and $1 billion, respectively. (Double-edged sword: The NFL has considered adjusting ownership rules as asking prices for franchises continue to skyrocket.)
The NFL owns TV deals with a variety of networks, which average $7.2 billion each season. With the league accounting for three of the top four regular shows among viewers ages 19 to 49, and after accounting for 40 of the top 50 US audiences in 2018, these values should only increase—substantially.
Add in the expansion of legalized wagering, and LHB Sports, Entertainment & Media’s Lee Berke, per Forbes, believes those media deals will double on average during the next round of negotiations, which are likely to come in 2022.
These owners are going to need thicker wallets, for sure.